Friday, December 19, 2014

White and Black Bread Pudding

Well, it's been a week. A good week.

I've been walking every morning. Just two miles. But, it has been great. I had daily back pain for about a month, and my chiropractor said I should give running a rest for a bit. Thankfully, an adjustment last Friday, combined with a wearing back brace for about 24 hours allowed my back to stay adjusted long enough to heal. I have not had any back pain since Sunday morning. (excepting for a little when I was grocery shopping the other day.) I am beyond thankful for the relief. I want to run. My feet are itching to run. But I am making myself wait until tomorrow. If everything still feels good, I'll be back to pounding the pavement. Just in time for snow...

But, walking. It has actually been a wonderful 30 minutes every morning. I spend the time thinking and praying for my people. Pondering life and cultural issues. It has been great. And I think my writing has been better because of it. I need the quiet thinking time in order to have anything of quality to write.

Speaking of writing and thoughts...I was thinking of how everyone writes post conference recaps-like the day they arrive home from the conference. Thoughts are fresh. Challenges are new. Excitement, motivation, and good intentions abound. But, what I'd like to read is a conference update update. How is everyone doing with all those things they were going to implement and change? Did they burn out, or is there noticeable differences?

I feel like the themes that were in my heart after Allume are manifesting themselves still, both here on my blog and in my day to day life. I am trying to write well-not simply write to have a post to publish. Walking, thinking, praying, writing. Writing about where I am at, what's making my heart beat, right now. It's been good-for me.

Btw, the blog will probably be quieter over the next 2 weeks. You will be enjoying time with your family, as will I. If I have a burning to write something, I will. Otherwise, I am going to be living in the season, and I hope you do too!

If there's NO posts, just assume that I finally decided to wrap the Christmas presents. We are getting down to the wire here.

So, the promised recipe...

Black and White Bread Pudding. Isn't it gorgeous?!

Just so you know, I do NOT like bread pudding. At all. It tastes too much like french toast, imho. Which is breakfast-not dessert.

But, then, I saw this recipe in a holiday hardcover edition of Christmas with Southern Living, and I knew I had to try it. Maybe this could get me beyond my bread pudding prejudice.

So, the key component in this recipe is the chocolate. A normal batch (9x13" pan) uses 1-1/2 pounds of the stuff. Now, it is a mix of white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate. Nevertheless-1-1/2 POUNDS of chocolate. How can a recipe not be good with that much chocolate?

From looking at the photographs, I'd guess it would be a very involved recipe, but it's not.

Cube and toast the bread. Top with chocolate chunks. Make a custard with cream, milk, eggs, sugar, white chocolate and vanilla. Its not boiled, just heated. No sweat. Pour the custard over the bread, let soak for 10 minutes, bake for 40, and voila! a black and white bread pudding. Whip up an easy sauce of (more) cream, white chocolate, butter, bourbon and salt. Start to finish, hands on time, about 20 minutes. Seriously.

I had leftover sauce from the Christmas party, and I decided to make a half batch of the recipe to take to a friend's house for dinner last night. She admitted to me afterwards that she was not looking forward to dessert because she doesn't like bread pudding either. But, she was properly converted and asked me for the recipe.

Obviously, in case you are wondering, this is NOT gluten-free or dairy-free. It may be vegetarian though certainly not vegan. It is magic, pure and simple.

Black and White Bread Pudding
1 (12 oz) loaf French bread, cubed and toasted (350 degree oven, 8-10 minutes)
1 (11.5 oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chunks
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
6 oz (a scant cup) white chocolate baking chips
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp vanilla

-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cube bread, and place in a greased 9x13" pan. Toast for 8-10 minutes.
-Sprinkle chocolate chunks over toasted bread cubes.
-Cook milk, cream, and sugar in a large saucepan, stirring often, about 6 minutes or just until bubbles appear. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Whisk in the white chocolate until melted.
-In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then, while whisking, slowly pour in about 1/4 of the custard mix. Pour the eggs into the remaining hot custard, stirring constantly until well combined. Add the vanilla. Pour over the bread cubes and let soak for 10 minutes.
-Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until set. Serve warm with White Chocolate Bourbon Sauce.
*Note: I have both doubled this recipe, and halved it, and it worked just as well both times. Also, I used the "seeds" from vanilla bean pods instead of vanilla. (2 whole beans for the double batch, half a bean for the half batch)

White Chocolate Bourbon Sauce
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 oz (scant cup) white chocolate baking chips
1 Tbsp butter
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp bourbon

-Cook the cream in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 2 minutes or just until bubbles appear. Remove from heat. Whisk in the chocolate, butter, and salt until the chocolate melts. Whisk in the bourbon.

You're welcome!