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Simple.

Beautiful.

Delicious.

And completely uncommitted to either Presidential candidate. (The bread pudding that is, not me. If the bread pudding has chosen sides, he isn't talking.)

SUNDAY FOOD BLOG: BREAD PUDDING SOUFFLE

Preheat oven to 350 F. The ingredient list:

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

4 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Extras

A few notes:

  • You can use more than four egg yolks -- last night, I used six -- but never use fewer.

  • Like more vanilla? Use more vanilla.

  • Ditto for cinnamon

  • Extras: here's where you can get creative. Raisins are standard, but any dried fruit will work well. Citrus rind, nuts, you name it. I want to make a bread pudding with toasted coconut and chunks of dried pineapple and mango -- call it a pina colada bread pudding. I've heard that bits of chocolate bars work well, too. Unfortunately, my wife and son like their bread puddings bland, bland, bland . . . but even bland, this bread pudding rocks.

1. Mix these ingredients and pour into a one quart measuring cup.

2. Now it's time to prepare the secret ingredient.

White bread, the icky white bread you remember loathing as a child. Wonder Bread works fine. Just the cheapest damned icky white bread you wouldn’t serve to your dog. You should feel ashamed even buying such a loaf of bread, and you should be anxiously telling the check-out person that it’s for ducks, and, yes, you realize even ducks shouldn’t eat this bread, but there you have it.

Cut the crusts off several slices of white bread. For six eight-ounce ramekins, I needed seven slices of white bread. Your mileage may vary.

Don't even think about using a good quality bread here. Yes, I know it "makes sense." Always use the finest ingredients available, right? French bread should be better than white bread, brioche or challah should be better than French bread, etc. But trust me, it doesn't work that way. Not for this recipe. French bread is way too heavy, challah too rich.

Next, cut the bread up into 1/2 inch cubes and spread them out into the ramekins.

You've done a fine job so far. The beer is your reward: Apricot Hefeweizen, mmmm.

A word about the extras: nuts and fruit should be mixed with the bread and added thus. Don't sprinkle them on top because they may very well burn. In fact, if any end up on top, poke 'em down into the goop.

Not that it's a goop yet . . .

3. Pour equal amounts of the egg/milk/cream mixture into each ramekin. Try to get all the bread moistened with the liquid.

As I mentioned, these are 8 ounce ramekins. I have them all in a Pyrex casserole dish, mostly for convenience, so that I can transfer them all together into the oven.

Dot the tops with butter, sprinkle generously with coarsely granulated sugar (Turbinado works well, but regular old white sugar will do you in a pinch), and here's what you'll have:

4. Put it into the oven and bake for about one hour.

After one hour, I had this:

Not bad, but not golden, brown, or crispy enough. I jacked up the heat to 450, and after 10 minutes or so I had this:

Voila -- bread pudding souffle. They fall quickly, so keep that in mind if you want impressively puffy souffles to serve your guests. I usually let them cool and deflate. Not as dramatic, but equally yummy.

My family never wants it, but here's the The Commander’s Kitchen cookbook's bourbon cream sauce (I really, really wanted to try making this with Bushmill's Black Bush):

(Scale down as needed.)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup bourbon

"Bring cream to a boil, combine the cornstarch and water, and add the mixture to the boiling cream, stirring constantly. Return to a boil, then reduce heat and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the mixture. Add the sugar and bourbon, and stir. Let cool to room temperature."

If you don't want the alcohol, serve your bread pudding with vanilla ice cream, or a custard sauce, or a zabaglione. Or scarf down one bread pudding after another until your spouse has to call 911.

Enjoy!

Originally posted to Balls and Walnuts on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:25 PM PST.

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