For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Goodness

Over the weekend someone gifted me a day-old baguette. I could have turned it into croutons, but with Thanksgiving just a few days away I experimented with a sweet-savory bread pudding recipe. The end result was over-the-top goodness.

No matter how much we stuff ourselves on Thanksgiving, somehow we always seem to find room for dessert. So I offer up this flavorful bread pudding recipe that your family and friends will give thanks for. This custard treat makes good use of leftover bread and sweet potatoes, so you might even want to wait until the after-holiday weekend to whip up as an extra special breakfast. Enjoy.


Serves 6 - 10 hungry or not-so-hungry mouths.

6 cups stale, cubed baguette
1 teaspoon butter
1 - 2 cups roasted sweet potatoes
1/3 cup honey
Zest & juice of one small orange
1/2 teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon & ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon each of allspice, nutmeg & cardamom
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks 

To roast the sweet potato, heat oven to 350°F. Cut potato lengthwise in half and place flesh side down on a glass baking dish. Bake for about one hour, until tender all the way through when pierced with a fork (and you'll see caramelization bubbling on the bottom of the dish). Remove and let cool. 
Sweet potato goodness: from pantry to oven. 

Rub the bottom of a 9 x 11 glass baking dish with butter. Slice or tear the baguette into large bite-sized pieces and scatter evenly in the dish. 

Scoop out the sweet potato flesh from the skins and add to a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the honey, orange, salt and spices and mix for a few minutes before adding the cream and milk. Stir the liquids in and then add the eggs, whisking until everything is well incorporated. 
The mixture will be slightly thick but still runny. 

Pour the mixture over the bread and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then place in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 - 50 minutes. You know the pudding's done when the flavors brighten the kitchen, the top crisps up to a golden brown, the custard sets firmly, and the center puffs up. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream. 

Before and after pictures: chewy bread soaks up fall flavors to yield a festive dessert. 


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