Saturday, January 27, 2007

Amaretto Bread Pudding

** Post updated with photo on 3/27/07**
Right after I promised to post more often, I was called away on a family emergency. All is well, but I will be in the frigid midwest for another week. No pictures to post since I don't have my camera software, but I will manage to post one of the easiest, most delicious desserts you can hope to make.

I LOVE bread pudding. If it's on a restaurant menu, I invariably order it. I do the same with gnocchi. A good bread pudding seems to please everyone, including men, who often tire of chocolate tarts and souffles.

My mother gave me this recipe, and I think she found it years ago in an issue of McCall's magazine. It is so tasty, that usually my male guests ask me for the recipe! The original recipe called for raisins (I'm not a big raisin fan in desserts, although I do like them in savory dishes), but I substituted chocolate chips. You can make both the sauce and pudding in advance, and then put it together right before serving.

Be sure to make this with a good loaf of bread - no sliced supermarket loaves! I prefer to use challah or brioche. And use real almond extract. And, so, I present you with . . .

Amaretto Bread Pudding

  • 1 lb challah bread or other rich bread, cut in pieces
  • 1 qt half and half
  • 2 tb unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tb almond extract (that's right, tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup raisins (I use chocolate chips)
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Amaretto sauce (recipe follows)

    Combine bread and half and half in large bowl. Cover and let stand 1 hour, gently stirring occassionally.

    Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 F. Grease a 9x13x2 inch baking dish with the 2 tablespoons butter.

    In small bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and almond extract. Stir gently into bread mixture. Gently fold in raisins (or chocolate chips), and almonds. Pour into prepared dish.

    Bake until pudding is firm, about 50 minutes (this will depend on your oven). It will be golden brown on top. Let cool.

    Do not refrigerate before serving.


  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur

    Stir the sugar and butter on top of double boiler (this is critical, or you will have a pot full of a nasty, coagulated mess), set over simmering water, until butter melts, sugar dissolves and mixture is very hot.

    Remove bowl from heat and whisk until cooled to room temperature. Mix in the Amaretto.
    To serve: preheat broiler and slice pudding into 8 to 10 squares, keeping it in the original baking dish. Spoon sauce over pudding and place under broiler until sauce bubbles - do not walk away. It's really easy to burn the whole thing at this point. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie Appetizer

The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity. Despite my best intentions to post on this blog, "Life" happened! At any rate, one of my modest goals for 2007 is to update this blog on a more regular basis.

The recipe comes from Paula Dean. It is an incredibly easy appetizer, and absolutely delicious. Master Chow despises macadamia nuts, and he loved this. Just be sure to get a fairly firm regular brie (I accidentally made this with a pepper brie once, and it was not good!). Paula Dean serves this with crackers and apples, but I serve it with plain water crackers, or with a mild salami to cut some of the sweetness. Also, you may have to play around with your oven temperature, as well, to get the desired consistency. Don't be afraid to experiment!

Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie
Adapted from a recipe by Paula Deen

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 (14-ounce) round brie (if you have a smaller one, that's okay, just cut back a bit on the sugar mixture)
  • Crackers, for serving

    In a small bowl stir together the sugar, nuts, and brandy. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours or up to 1 week. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place the brie on an ovenproof platter or pie plate. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened.

    Increase oven temperature to 400 F. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the warm brie and return to oven. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts. Place crackers around the brie and serve immediately.