Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Brandied Brown Sugar Bread Pudding, Minions, and Officially Officialness

     I need a long weekend to recover from my long weekend.  Or minions.  Minions might be preferable.  The weekend was packed with cooking for a dinner for 30 on Saturday, my niece flying in during the preparation, another smaller party to cook for on Sunday, and spending the day with family on Monday.  All good stuff, but it greatly interrupted my regularly scheduled laziness.  

     The party on Saturday is what I shall now call my First Officially Official Event.  The menu was hot deviled crab dip, black-eyed pea salsa ((as previously discussed)), jambalaya, Cajun pulled pork, creole rice, baked beans, mini corn muffins with roasted green chiles and honey butter, and brandied brown sugar bread pudding.  Based on the feedback I've been given, no one dish was the clear favorite, so that means I get to decide.  ((Hey, it's my blog, I can do what I want to anyway.))  I originally thought the rice was going to be my overall favorite ((I "taste-tested" a completely unreasonable amount of it and will make it over and over again)), but that honor has been given instead to the bread pudding.

More Boozy Desserts by Jules

     I have always believed that bread pudding is disgusting.  I mean, seriously, who wants goopy stale bread?  Sick.  Apparently, I didn't know what bread pudding actually was because I was very, very wrong.  ((Mark it:  March 6, 2012. Jules admits she is wrong about something.))  This stuff is to die for.  Not goopy.  Not stale.  Totally sugary boozy yumminess.  This recipe basically came from a website called "A Taste of Home" with a couple of modifications.      

What you need:

1/2 cup of raisins ((unless you agree with me that raisins are disgusting and look like bugs and should be left out))
1/4 cup brandy ((or more, why not?))
1/2 cup of butter  ((melted and with one tablespoon divided out))
1 tablespoon sugar
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups half and half
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
10 slices of day-old brioche bread, 1 inch thick, cubed

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a small saucepan, combine the raisins ((yuck)) and the brandy and bring them to a boil.  Cover and remove from heat to sit aside and marinate.  If you are leaving out the raisins, theoretically, you should still bring the brandy to a boil to burn off some of the alcohol, but if you don't, I won't tell anyone.  You can also use apple juice in place of the brandy if you want to be non-boozy.

Brush a glass pan with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and sprinkle it with sugar.

In a large bowl combine the eggs, cream, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and nutmeg.  Stir in the remaining butter and the raisin/not bugs and brandy mixture.  Gently add in the bread and carefully swish it around.  Let it sit for about 15 minutes or until all the juice is soaked up.

Transfer it to the buttered and sugared baking dish and bake it at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes OR until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Now you need to make the sauce.

It requires:

1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
Dash of salt
3/4 cup of cold water
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
MORE brandy, but just a little.  Maybe 1/4 cup.

Just combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small saucepan and gradually add the water and brandy.  For the love of sugar, KEEP STIRRING IT.  You want to be sure the cornstarch isn't "lumping up" like your Aunt Edna's gravy.  Bring it to a boil and continue stirring for 2 minutes or until it is thickened up.  Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract.

Some people say you should serve this on the side as a sauce.  I say to hell with that.  Dump it right on top and let it soak in.  If you make this a day ahead as I did, the sauce will turn into a caramel-ly type topping and be extra delicious.  Just reheat it in the oven or nuke it for a few seconds prior to serving.

Nutritional Info:  High treadmill alert.  When cut into 12 pieces, 1 piece is about 350 calories and 15 grams of fat.   Cut it into smaller pieces and eat two.  You'll feel better about yourself.  No, that doesn't make any sense.  That's not my fault.


I'm off to bake a huge batch of my organic, vegan dog treats.  I made a batch about three weeks ago and have been giving them to people and demand has set in.  Now if I could just keep my dogs from staring at the oven while they bake...

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