HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!
I hope 2019 started sparkly, memorable and delicious as it did for us. Here in Chicago, we kept new year eve low key. Standing in line to get into clubs was out of the question (its negative temperatures, guys) so we had a very mature ( I like to think) start to the year: We mulled some wine, drank tea-whiskey (hot cocktails are apparently so hot right now), played games, watched movies and ate asian food and this incredible bread pudding.
Let’s talk about NY resolutions! I do not understand the cynicism behind new year resolutions - Why are there so many people on the internet claiming that NY resolutions are stupid (“you should do these things every day, the start of a new year is a social construct, valentines day is a social construct, mothers day is a social construct, so on”). STAHP. Theres no room for that kind of negativity in 2019!
That may all be true, but in defense of these days, I’d just like to say that I’d take these wonderfully celebratory days that bring optimism, freshness, and good vibes into our lives any day! AND (I dare say it) they bring more happiness than some religious holidays (arguably also socially constructed, by the way) so stop hating on them and embrace the festivity - don’t let rationality get in the way of the good spirit- Live a little! So YES, I love new year resolutions, I love the idea of a fresh start, I love the concept of forgiving yourself for what you couldn’t achieve last year and letting yourself have the opportunity to start over - I think its full of possibilities, hope and positivity so a big YES from me - and I actually have kept many of my new year resolutions in the past - my strategy is to keep them simple and sustainable and it works (most of the time). This blog was born out of a new year’s resolution so I will say I’m pretty excited about them every year.
Last year, I read over 30 books (I highly recommend the things they carried, 102 minutes, Crossing the Chasm, Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, dining in), started making and following to-do lists (no other way to adult) and began regularly budgeting.
Some of my resolutions for this year include removing my makeup every night (its going ok so far but lets see haha), using environmentally sustainable coffee cups (and any other sustainable practices i can accommodate!), cooking/baking MUCH MORE, writing more often, and meal-prepping in the weekdays.
Okay, okay, I know you’re here for the bread pudding so here goes. I made this bread pudding out of a recipe from Bon Appetit but then basically changed everything because I didn’t have most of the ingredients. So here’s the recipe I actually followed, but feel free to be innovative - bread pudding is pretty forgiving in that you could easily substitute some of the flavors and embellishments to your liking and its likely to still be gooey, comforting and delicious. Although, for best results, i wouldn’t recommend going dairy free/ gluten free.
Here’s the recipe I did. Disclaimer - Don’t fear the butter:
A 1 lb loaf French brioche (450 g)
1 stick butter, melted (113 g)
2 cups cream
1/2 cup sugar + 2 tbsp
3 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of 1/2 an orange
2 tsp orange zest
2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp rum
1 cup chopped pecans
Break the brioche apart into little pieces in a large bowl. Pour the melted butter over the bread and sprinkle in the 2 Tbsp sugar. Toss it around so its well combined. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk the eggs and 1/2 cup sugar until pale and fluffy.
In another bowl, mix the cream, vanilla, orange juice, zest, cinnamon salt and rum. Mix well. Then pour the cream mixture into the egg/sugar mixture and whisk.
In a large glass or ceramic baking dish, arrange the bread pieces in no specific pattern. Sprinkle in the pecans. Pour about half the cream / egg mixture into the dish until it’s covering all the bread. Cover in cling wrap and keep in the fridge for a couple of hours. When the bread seems soaked (when the bread has absorbed all the liquid) add the remaining liquid. Keep in the fridge to let it absorb again for 3 -4 hours or until completely absorbed.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 325˚ F (180 C) for about 45 -60 minutes or until golden brown from the top. Serve warm with this salted caramel (you can see the step-by step in my Instagram story highlights too) and ice cream (vanilla, rum-raisin, dulce de leche work best)\
Adding the butter to the bread gives this bread pudding a croissant-y quality. You can skip butter step if you want (but trust me, you don’t want)
Ideally, use a 13x9x2” glass or ceramic baking dish. I didn’t have any so I used 2 cast iron skillets to make 2 mini-bread puddings.
I used navel oranges but use whatever are the most fresh/flavorful local oranges you can find.
You can swap the orange for banana. Chop up some banana and arrange it among the bread. I haven’t actually done this but my guess is that the banana will get really nice and jammy and will also go very well with the rum and vanilla. You can use walnuts instead of pecans if you want.