RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Tag: Caramel

Caramel Budino with Salted Caramel Sauce

Dessert for Valentine’s Dinner this year was Caramel Budino with Salted Caramel Sauce.  The word ‘budino’ is Italian for pudding and I can say personally that Italian puddings are really mouth-watering, at least this budino was.   There were several different steps to this dessert but it was well worth the effort.

When I first saw the recipe at Bon Appétit I was bowled over and I knew that T would love it. The budino is made with caramel syrup you make and add to the milk and egg mixture, then the salted caramel sauce-topping is all you could want it to be and add fresh whipped cream to the mix and it was beyond expectancy.

I needed chocolate wafers and T was making the run… he wanted to know what I needed plain chocolate wafers for and I wanted to surprise him and told him to please just get them.  He came home with Nabisco Chocolate Teddy Grahams… but to my surprise they were perfect.  A deep chocolate flavor and made the perfect cookie crust.  I even decided to be whimsical and instead of garnishing with the cookie crust crumbs on top I put a Teddy Graham on top of each, it was Valentine’s Day and added to the love I feel for T and all that he does for me.  He loved the Budino and he loved the fact that I put a teddy on each.  It was his decision to buy the teddies and now he is a gourmet cook (didn’t you know!)  He made mention that he should or could be making more decisions on the finishing touches on our plated food!  I will let him!  Should have… Could have… Would have… We will see!

I will add the recipe here, there seems to be a problem with the connection (part of the time) at Bon Appétit:

Ingredients

Cookie Crust

  • 1 cup finely ground chocolate cookie crumbs  (such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers; about 20 cookies)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter,  melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Budinot

  • 3 cups whole milk,  divided
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup (packed) dark brown  sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted  butter
  • 2 teaspoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon kosher  salt

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn  syrup
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted  butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Lightly sweetened whipped  cream

Preparation

Cookie Crust

  • Mix cookie crumbs, butter, and salt in a medium bowl. Place 2  tablespoons in a small bowl; cover and chill for garnish. Press 2 tablespoons  cookie mixture onto the bottom of each of eight 8-ounce mason jars or  ramekins.

Budino

  • Whisk 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside.  Heat remaining 2 1/2 cups milk in a small saucepan just to a simmer; set aside.  To make caramel, stir sugar and 3/4 cup water in a heavy saucepan over medium  heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; cook without stirring until an  instant-read thermometer registers 210°–220°
  • Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and set over a  large pitcher. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in hot milk,  then cornstarch mixture. Slowly whisk in caramel. Return mixture to saucepan.  Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and a thermometer  registers 175°, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter, rum, and  salt. Pour through prepared sieve.
  • Pour 1/2 cup budino over crust in each jar. Cover; chill until  set, 4–5 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep  chilled.

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • Place cream in a small pitcher. Scrape in seeds from vanilla  bean; add bean. Set aside.
  • Stir sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water in a heavy  saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high;  boil, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush,  until deep amber color forms, 5–6 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually add  vanilla cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Whisk over medium heat until  smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter and salt.  Strain into a heatproof bowl. Let cool slightly.
  • Spoon 2 tablespoons caramel sauce over each budino. Top with  whipped cream. Sprinkle some of reserved cookie crumbs over  each.
http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2011/09/caramel-budino-with-salted-caramel-sauce#ixzz1nFOCZneZ

The dinner was a week late with all that has gone on, but each Valentine’s Day I try to make a special dinner for T.   Between the stuffed pork chops and apple, peach salad it was a wonderful meal.   I do not like getting flowers, chocolates or gifts of any kind for Valentine’s Day.  A card that puts a smile on my face is all I need and that is not mandatory!  Just love me for me, which is all I can ask….

Apple and Peach Salad with Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar

Valentine’s Day was a week ago today.  I always try to make something special for dinner to reflect on all the things that T does for me, to let him know how special he is to me.  This year things were up in the air with my Mom and Valentine’s Day came and went with no acknowledgements, for which I was so very grateful.  Once my head cleared I knew I still wanted to do something special and picked this evening.

I am not one that likes to eat out much and five-star restaurants have their place…  We have eaten at so many great five-star restaurants… example we ate at Napoleons in New Orleans, nice, really nice but to tell you the truth I loved eating at Uglesich’s (in central city New Orleans,) no food could compare and it is sad to say they are no longer in business… or take me back to Franky and Johnny’s what a marvel and what a difference in price from Napoleons.   T holds likes to hold on to a penny until it turns green, so I will let him hold on to his green pennies for a while longer.  Is that true love or not?

I love doing this dinner each year but wanted to tone it down a bit from a year ago… pacing me helped with this decision.  We both love a good salad and with the Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar I made last season I decided to up it a notch with crisp apples and peaches and add a little Feta Cheese and a few other salad regulars… it made an out of this world salad.

T loves pork and I decided to make stuffed pork chops with roasted brussel sprouts.  To end the dinner I went with an Italian pudding dessert… Caramel Budino with Salted Caramel Sauce it was exceptional, like an old world custard and the caramel sauce was just enough different it was such a delight.

Today I am posting the picture of the salad and will post the others courses of the meal in the next few days.  We both enjoyed this meal so much and it was something that lifted our spirits and made us forget reality for at least a while….

Chocolate~Caramel Tart with Pistachios and Espresso Beans

 

 

Today is the day after, seems like I am always trying to catch up to the present time.  Yesterday was Father’s Day.  My Father has been gone now for twenty-three years, where does the time go.   I find myself at different times thinking of him and wondering what he would think on different things that have taken place over the years.  I too learned not to be my father, only he could possibly take that walk and we each are our own as it should be.

It makes me hope that I have been a better parent; I think we all want and hope to be and to do better than our own parents and hope the same for each new generation.  I am optimistic that my children will improve on their parents in one way or another.  That is something I can hope will come to pass and then through them to the future children.  That would be a wonderful blessing for our family now and through all the ages of time.

I made a tart today to celebrate all fathers, from ages past to future Dads (and Gramps.)  I was asked for something with caramel, chocolate, espresso and the simple graham crackers.  I knew immediately what I wanted to make.  It has been over a dozen years since I made a graham cracker crust.  I had to Google to find the directions.  eHow had the basic recipe; I had forgotten how simple it really was… I had the Graham crackers but had wanted chocolate so I added 1 and ½ teaspoon of Dutch Cocoa Powder.  This recipe originally called for shortbread pastry, but the chocolate-graham cracker crust was just as easy.  It called for hazelnuts of which I had none, but I love a Pistachio and chocolate mix and had some so that decision was made.  It called for Milk Chocolate and I used a mix of 1 oz milk chocolate with 3 ozs of Bitter Chocolate it was a perfect and healthier mix.

The original recipe was called Milk-Chocolate-Caramel Tart with Hazelnuts and Espresso that I found in Bon Appétit sometime in the past, I was just waiting to use this recipe and it did not let me down even with all my changes.  I too made a change in the espresso powder, I had none and so used some Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans that I did have and they tasted perfect. It too called for a sprinkling of crunchy cacao nibs on top of finished tart (pieces of roasted cacao beans) of which I had none, so that is another reason I used the chocolate covered espresso beans.

It was delicious; it was on the rich side, real rich; a very small bite was all I could handle.  I was disappointed in one thing, the espresso beans when chopped left the dark chocolate looking a little sick, and were not that pretty on top of the tart, but they were delicious none the less, even for a person who does not like coffee of any kind (me!)  Next time I will probably leave them whole and put just a few, it would then have a ‘picture perfect’ look….

This recipe looks long and drawn out, but it is rather simple and took less time than I thought, will worth the little bit of time and effort….

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 6 tablespoons of melted Butter
  • 1 and ½ cups of crushed Graham Crackers (about 24 graham crackers)
  • 1 and ½ teaspoon of Dark Dutch Cocoa
  • ¼ cup Sugar

Place the graham cracker crumbs, Dutch cocoa and sugar in bowl, stir them to combine.  Add the melted butter and stir or with hands blend until well blended.  Press into the tart shell, I used a 13 ¾ by 4 ½ inch rectangular tart pan with removable bottom.  Once all is press in the tart shell put in a heated oven ~ 350˚ and bake for 8 ~ 10 minutes.  Leave on counter until you have your filling ready to use.

          Filling:

  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/3 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 2/3 cup whole Pistachios (I used salted, love the salt with the chocolate and the caramel)

Stir sugar and ¼ cup water in heavy medium sauce pan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is medium amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 8 minutes.  Remove pan from heat.  Add cream (mixture will bubble up be careful.) Place saucepan over medium heat: stir until caramel bits dissolve.  Add butter, vinegar, and salt: stir until butter melts.  Stir in 2/3 cup of Pistachios’.   Now spoon the filling unto the graham cracker crust.  Chill until cold and set, around 30 minutes or so.

                Topping:

  • 1/3 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder ~ I used 1 ½ teaspoons of chopped Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Bean. (In using the beans you will see the actual crushed espresso beans floated in the chocolate topping, but they are delicious!)
  • 1 oz of high quality Milk Chocolate
  • 3 oz of high quality Bitter Chocolate
  • 1 Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Cacao Nibs ~ I replace with a few of the chopped Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans (I only used a few because they were not that attractive, but good!)

Combine cream and espresso powder, (here I replaced with the chopped dark chocolate covered espresso beans, in small saucepan.)  Bring to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until espresso powder (the dark chocolate melted and lift floating pieces of chopped espresso beans) is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Add the chocolate and butter, stir until smooth.  Spread chocolate mixture over caramel in tart pan.  Sprinkle with cacao nibs (I sprinkled with a few chopped dark chocolate covered espresso beans,) Chill tart until topping is set about 1 hour.  This can be made up to 2 days ahead of time, cover and keep chilled.  To serve remove tart pan sides, place tart on platter and cut crosswise into bars to serve.

I will add the shortbread recipe for those that would like to go that route:

Shortbread Crust:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ cup Chilled Unsalted Butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon (or more) Ice Water

Blend flour, powdered sugar, and salt in processor.  Add butter, using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add 1 tablespoon ice water; process just until dough begins to clump together, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dry.  Transfer dough to 13 ¾ by 4 ½ inch rectangular tart pan with removable bottom.  Press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan. Freeze crust 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375˚F.  Bake crust until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.  Cool crust completely in pan on rack.

Overall, it was an excellent recipe, I was not happy with the Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans, only because of the way they looked after chopping them, if using again I would not chop them.  If I was not going using the whole chocolate covered espresso beans I would use the espresso powder and possibly some nibs next time I make this.  I also would use the shortbread crust to help cut through the richness of the tart.   But the merging of caramel (which tasted like a toffee caramel ~ very good,) chocolate, pistachio and espresso mix is a wonderful tart full of luscious delight we all agreed….

Comfrey also known as Quaker Comfrey and Russian Comfrey

Taken in one of my gardens by the light of the full moon….

Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Tart

Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Tart

With a Short ~ A Life Time Full of Senses

(Recipe follows my short)

It seems strange to me that something as simple as just the beginning notes of a song or the slight smell of something cooking how many memories can be nudged to the forefront of one’s mind.  Those things that happened in times past are brought to present time in a blink of an eye.   It does not take much to rattle ones thoughts through our senses.   The senses we each have (usually) of sight, touch, taste, smell, and what we hear are markers in memory from our everyday lives.   Senses are normal functions each a way of us processing information and each sense participates and operates in our perception and the storage of this information.

In addition to our traditionally recognized five senses we too have the ability to sense temperatures, too the sense in knowing where our limbs are oriented in space, we know when we have pain, our balance (inter ear,) and to know oneself and the emotions, that make knowing if we are happy, sad or even having a bad hair day.  We can perceive what time it is, how fast we are going, the direction in which we are going and so much more.  Each and all make up how we relate to everyone and everything in our lives.   What a wonder it would be if humans used all of their senses, I wonder how many we are not aware of?

It is amazing the wonder of smells and tastes of which both summons one for the other.  When you think about it our sense of taste is really about our sense of smell.  It would be hard with one and not the other and life would be rather dull without either, more so once I think about it.   When I am eating Shrimp Fettuccini in Alfredo Sauce one of my favorites the smell is delicious and too the taste is delicious, do they go hand in hand.  Does the smell dictate the taste or vice versa? Or do they work more independently?  If I like the smell will I like the taste or the possibility of me trying something new by smelling first, if it smells good will I at least take one bite just to see.  I do not think I have eaten something that smelled good and then tasted bad.   Although, that is not saying I would like the taste of perfume.

Then I have those times when I really need to “Come to my Senses!”   Each one of my senses is collecting information about everything that surrounds me from when I was just an infant to present-day and the data is stored and brought to the forefront each time I perceive or recognize a sense that uses anyone of my five plus senses.  They too collect and detect changes within my own body, how much of our knowledge comes from senses?

I remember as a very young girl taking my grandfather’s hand as we walked to the city park.  I remember how strong it felt, you could feel the muscles and the skin was taunt and thick and too he had callous on his hands from hard work.  His hand to me was very large. When he was in his nineties as I held his hand it was so much thinner, the muscles long gone the skin now relaxed and thinned and the callous were no more.  The size was not dramatic any more.  I had not forgotten his hand as I had felt it years ago and have not forgotten his hand of age years later.  Each was imprinted in my memory from touch.  Too, his smell that never changed of pipe tobacco and leather.  He has been long gone now for over thirty-five years and when I smell the same pipe tobacco as he smoked it makes me take the time to think of him.  It always will.

When one thinks of the past, it conjures up everything that makes up the full of what your life has been to date.  Your family, friends, your friends’ family, school, and people you knew, people who influenced your life in one way or another and too those that just passed through our lives each and all have contributed to the wholeness of whom we are at present.  Think of all the places you have visited and or lived and worked, and even those that you have dreamt about  (I can dream about a place from recall of a book or brochure and have a mind’s eye to what I ‘perceive’ the actual is until I see it in person, then  the realized is what clears the thoughts of what was perceived unless scents and such were used in description they would still be the same)  each and all contributes to your senses in memory that have made up your life to date. 

The loves in your life, your past loves and too those loved ones of today are each held in memory through one sense or another.  The loved one departed, some long ago others in the present, each and all loved and missed none the less.  The past also invokes so much through thoughts of the songs you sung or listened to or the song that you danced to and with whom. What you have physically and some mentally touched along the way you have hung on to, never to let go. 

I need not be standing by a rose-bush in full bloom to remember the silken feel of its petals, or to see the color of its faint veins nor does it need be in present form for me to remember its delicate scent.   Taking a rose scented bath makes me feel the rose-bush is right there with me.  Too, just in thought it can provoke the mind to remember the data left from my sense of sight and smell from long ago.

Since spring made her presence known this year the scents of her spring bulbs, flowering trees and shrubs have magnified what my mind has held on too for the length of my lifetime, each scent well-remembered, those new scents put to memory as soon as acknowledged through smell.  The scent of bread baking, chocolate tarts and the grill all recently lead me to ponder the thoughts of how incredible each of my senses are.  I have always been fascinated with ‘senses’ since I was just a child. 

Each sense defines to the immeasurable amount of how we perceive and the ways in which we live our lives.  What are likes and dislikes are and what lulls us into bliss.   I have lived in more than six states, each place I have had roses, I plant my flower gardens to bring the scents that I love and too those that mean much to me or for just plain desire and pleasure.  The same with what we eat, or those of us who love to cook, I like to make bread not only to enjoy but to have the comforting smells of home-baked breads filling my home.   Our senses help to determine so many decisions, what we eat, where we go, what we read, what we listen to, physical love and so much more. 

Tomorrow I think I will listen to a long sonata while letting the sun heat my skin as I leisurely lounge  in the chase and  indulge myself with a chocolate caramel tart that I enjoyed baking, knowing full well how much I will truly take pleasure in each one.  All of my senses I will indeed be using, I will see, smell, taste, touch, and hear and so much more….

Here is the recipe for my Chocolate Macadamia Nut Tarts, enjoy….

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Tarts

Adapted from smittenkitchen ~ Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust

These Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Tarts waken up yours sense of smell while they are cooking, they too wake up your taste buds while you are eating, they look more than just inviting, the texture while you are savoring this stimulating (yes!) tart that is overwhelming and gratifying, and you will indeed hear ahhhh of delight from those that are eating. The tarts use each and every one of our senses to the highest degree!

This tart is more like a brownie, I agree with Deb the tart is almost like a crackly brownie and the center being more like a truffle.  I too loath ginger, so Deb and I are off to a good start… This Chocolate tart is very extreme in chocolate taste, it definitely is very rich and I could only eat a very small slice (per sitting!)

One thing I did different besides the Macadamia Nuts was I drizzled caramel sauce  on top of the filling once it was in the shell before I baked.  The sauce is the same caramel sauce that is used in my Brioche Bread Pudding recipe.  Then I scattered the nuts on top.

I used my regular tart pastry and am glad I did.  It is always very flakey; it is not overly rich and is perfect for this tart that has all the intensity of the rich dark chocolate filling you could want.  The pastry is very simple and seems to be full-proof.

So I used no ginger crust and no ginger seasoning of any kind in the filling.  I drizzled some of the caramel sauce on top of the filling and I did use Macadamia Nuts mixed in and scattered on top and what a wonderful mix.  It is melt in your mouth good, but remember this is a very rich, indulgent dessert and a little goes a long way.  My six-inch tarts were cut into fourths and were the perfect size and everyone enjoyed each and every bite.  They agree, per sitting a quarter is plenty of this decadent dessert, this is not saying that it does not call your name for a return the next day….

Deb made a large tart, I decided to make six 6 inch size tarts and the amount of filling was perfect.  You can go by smittenkitchen if you would like to do the ginger crust for this tart.

For my pastry recipe please click.   Follow recipe all the way through the pre-baking and sitting aside for when needed.  You will have more than enough pastry for a large tart or small tarts with some left over.  You can refrigerate for a few days or put in the freezer any leftover dough.

Chocolate Tart Filling:

                Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4  cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I recommend using!)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts, several tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts to scatter on top of each tart

Soft whipped cream, for serving.

Caramel Sauce dizzled on if it calls to you, like it did me!

Pastry for tarts.

To make Chocolate Tart Filling:

Combine the finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and heavy whipping cream in a heavy medium saucepan.  Whisk on low heat until chocolate is melted, mixed and smooth.  Whisk the egg yolks, egg, sugar, flour, ground black pepper, salt and cinnamon in bowl just until blended.

Gradually whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until smooth and well blended. Mix in the chopped macadamia nuts.  Now pour the chocolate filling into the pre-cooked tart shell(s.) I fill to just below the rim so they do not run over while baking.  Scatter a few chopped Macadamia nuts over the top of each tart.

Bake the tarts (or large tart if that is what you are making) until the filling is slightly puffed from center to edge of tart(s), a soft center set, about 30 minutes.  Once the tart(s) are done transfer to rack and cool tart(s) in pan(s) for twenty minutes.   Gently remove the tart(s) from pan(s) and cool tart(s) completely.  It is about this time after smelling it cook that I want to go ahead and take a bite or two, no one would miss one of the tarts.  Better not!  Wait until you smell the deep chocolate scent filling your home as it bakes, it makes you so hungry…

Cut the tart(s) into thin wedges and serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream for those pleasure-seeking souls, the mix is heavenly….

As Deb said you can make the chocolate tart(s) ahead of time, 1 day ahead. Cover tart and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.  Thanks for the wonderful recipe Deb!  It sure was a hit….

Best Brioche Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

A while back I made some Orange Marmalade and some Brioche Bread and Brioche cups to go with.  I had mentioned that I would love to have some bread pudding made from any leftover Brioche Bread, as I wrote that I had figured there probably would not be a crumb left, but was surprised to find I had enough left for the bread pudding after all.

Then I begin my search for a good Brioche Bread Pudding recipe and found one.  I have a recipe that I have used but wanted to step it up a bit.  It did not take me long with Google to find a recipe that sounded good, actually it sounded spectacular to say the least.

Jun at JunBlog had a very descriptive narration on this Brioche Bread Pudding that sold me.  The recipe she got from Tartine’s.  There are some wonderful pictures of how the pudding was made and the use of fresh fruit topping on the finished dish.  It sure looked good.   So I was game to try it myself.   Boy am I glad that I did, spectacular was putting it mildly.  It far exceeded anything I could have dreamt of.   It was so delicious, stunning, and was so impressive to say the least.  I will be making this again and again.

Thank you Jun, this is one of the best recipe finds I have found in a while.  I cannot say enough good about this dish.  The pictures do not do it justice.  It just melts in your mouth.  It did not last long in my house that is for sure.    I will be bragging about this bread pudding forever, I have already given the recipe out countless times.

I hope you take the time to make some; there are not enough words to give this extraordinary bread pudding all that it deserves.   The only changes I made were to add dried tart cherries, dried cranberries (both from Nuts Online), raisins and some pecans.  I used some Egg Beaters for half of the eggs and it tasted just like I had used all fresh eggs.

For the Brioche Bread Pudding, makes 10 ~ 12 servings:

  • 6 Brioche slices, cut 1-inch thick – I used my leftover 4 Brioche Cups and a few slice of Brioche Bread
  • 8 Large Eggs – I used 4 eggs and ¼ cup Egg Beaters for each of the four eggs I was not using 1 Cup Total for the Egg Beaters
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Cups Whole Milk
  • 1 ½  Tsp Vanilla
  • ½  Tsp Salt
  • + ½ Cup  dried tart cherries
  • + ½ Cup Dried Cranberries
  • + ½ Cup Raisins
  • + ¼ Cup Pecans
  • + Small Dash of Fresh Ground Nutmeg

For the Caramel Sauce, makes 1-1/2 cups:

2/3   Cup Heavy Cream
¼  of One Vanilla Bean
1 ¼ Cup Sugar
¼  Cup Water
¼  Tsp Salt
2  Tbsp Light Corn Syrup
3/4 Tsp Lemon Juice
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

Making the Brioche Bread Pudding:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

I buttered my 12.5 x 3.5 x 2.5 dish.   I arranged the brioche slices on a baking sheet. I cut the tops off of the brioche cups and put on baking sheet too (tops down to toast the cut sides of the brioche cups.)  Place in the oven until lightly toasted. I removed from the oven and set aside to cool.

I whisked the 4 eggs and added the cup of egg beaters and whisk to blend.  Add the sugar and whisk until smooth.  Add the milk, vanilla and salt then whisk until completely blended.  Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve.

I placed the toasted brioche slices in my baking dish, cutting them so they would fit as needed (it was like putting together a puzzle,) as I layered the bread and I put a mix of the dried fruit and nuts scattering them about the dish for an even distribution.  I used the four tops of the Brioche cups for the top layer and filled in around them with bread pieces.   I poured the custard evenly over the bread and fruits to the top.  I waited the 10 minutes or so until the bread had soaked up the custard and kept adding until I had used all of the custard.  The bread will absorb all the custard.  Once all the custard was absorbed I added some dried fruit in a pattern on top.   I put a little ~ very little dash of fresh ground nutmeg on top once everything was in place.  You do not want to add too much nutmeg; it is very over-riding if you do.

I covered the dish with aluminum foil and placed in oven and baked the bread pudding for about an hour.  The custard will be still a little moist when done, I used a long pick and stuck it in the middle and when it came out clean it was done.  The custard will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven and it will set up as it cools.

Let the bread pudding cool for about 20 minutes before serving.  I sliced it and used a spatula to remove the slices from my baking dish.  You can just serve it with a serving spoon if you want do whichever way you like.

Once I had the slices on the dessert plates I then drizzled the caramel sauce over the top of each piece.  You can add fresh fruit or even put a dollop of whip cream when you serve.

If you have left over bread pudding, the cookbook suggests chilling it, slicing it, and frying it as you would French toast.  I did not get to try that this time; there were no left-overs.  However, I will be making this bread pudding again and maybe next time I will get to make the French-Toast with any of the left-overs.

 

To make the Caramel Sauce:

These are the directions Jun gave and they worked so why mess with a good thing:

Pour the cream into a small, heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the tip of a sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the pod halves into the cream. Place over medium-high heat and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low to keep the cream warm.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, salt and corn syrup. Use a good-sized pan because the caramel will boil vigorously and the volume will increase dramatically as soon as the hot cream is added. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then let the mixture boil, without stirring, until the mixture is amber colored. Watch the sugar mixture carefully as it cooks to avoid burning the sugar. From the time the mixture started to boil, it took over 15 minutes to reach an amber color. Remove from the heat.

The mixture will continue to cook off the heat and become darker, so make sure to have the cream close by. Carefully and slowly add the cream to the sugar syrup. The mixture will boil vigorously at first. Let the mixture simmer down, and then whisk until smooth. Add the lemon juice and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Cut the butter into 1-inch chunks and add them to the caramel one at a time, whisking constantly after each addition. Then whisk the caramel periodically as it continues to cool.

Pour the caramel sauce in an airtight container such as a glass jar and store in the refrigerator. This will keep for up to a month.

This caramel is good heated and put on ice cream, the other day I used it to make some Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nuts Tarts.  Recipe will be posted soon.  They were delicious too.   I still have left-over caramel sauce and it will be completely used by the date needed.  I put the date on the top of the jar that I stored it in so will know to the day precisely….

%d bloggers like this: