Friday, August 24, 2007

Lemon-Spice Bread Pudding

This one's a 5-star keeper. I'll get right to it.


LEMON-SPICE BREAD PUDDING

Ingredients:
  • 6 cups 1-inch bread cubes from day-old rustic bread with crusts (about 11 ounces)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. whole milk
  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 t. anise seed
  • 1 1/2 t. grated lemon peel
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast bread on large rimmed baking sheet until golden, tossing occasionally, about 15 minutes. Cool.

In heavy saucepan, heat milk, cream, cardamom, anise, and lemon peel to a simmer. Remove from heat, add vanilla, cover, and let steep at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours. Strain.

Whisk eggs, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Gradually whisk milk mixture into egg mixture. Add bread and toss gently to combine. Cover and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.


Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 9x5 bread pan. Transfer bread mixture to prepared dish. Bake until just set, 60-75 minutes. Cool pudding at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Notes:

The original recipe is from Bon App├ętit, September 2006, and can be found here. I made some minor changes, already written into the recipe above, as follows.
  • I didn't toss the bread with the suggested 5 T. of butter because I thought there was enough fat in the recipe already.
  • I used anise instead of star anise because I couldn't track the latter down.
  • I reduced the amount of sugar by 1/4 c.
  • I used vanilla instead of vanilla bean.
  • I baked it in a 9x5 loaf pan because that's what I had; it took a little longer to bake but serves up very nicely.
This is an excellent bread pudding. The lemon, anise, and cardamom give it unusual and light flavors; the texture is firm and moist without being soggy. Serve alone, or with fresh fruit.

I want to try this bread pudding with a non-dairy base -- I'm thinking rice milk would be good -- so I can serve it to my dairy-allergic friends.

This bread pudding is so good, it'll make you want to cook, eat, dance, love!

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