Strawberry-Raspberry Bread Pudding
Makes about 8 servings
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 ½ cups superfine sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla
- 16 large egg yolks
- Preheat to 300 F. (150 C.) Lightly butter the insides of eight 3-inch diameter by 1 ½ -inches tall metal entremet rings. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the rings on a pan. Cut 8 slices of bread, 1/3-inch thick, from the loaf. Using a ring like a cookie cutter, cut out 8 rounds of bread, slicing more bread as needed. Cut the remaining bread into 1/3-inch cubes. You should have 7 cups of bread cubes.
- Spread the cubes and rounds on two half-sheet pans. Bake, stirring the cubes occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cubes to a large bowl. Set the rounds aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 250 F. (121 C.)
- Combine the heavy cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a heavy-bottomed, large saucepan. Squeeze the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often with a spatula until small bubbles form around the edge of the mixture. Remove from the heat. Place a medium-mesh wire sieve over a medium bowl near the stove.
- Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in about half of the milk mixture. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula until the crème anglaise is thick enough to coat the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 180 F. (82 C.). (If you run your finger across the crème anglaise on the spatula, it will cut a swath.) Immediately strain the custard through the sieve. Measure 1-1/3 cups of the crème anglaise; cool, cover, and refrigerate to use as the sauce for the puddings.
- Pour about two-thirds of the remaining crème anglaise over the bread cubes and stir gently. Let stand until the bread has soaked up the custard, about 20 minutes. Fit a bread round into the bottom of each entremet ring; it should make a tight fit. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the crème anglaise into each ring to cover the round. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Using a 2-inch ice-cream scoop, carefully fill each entremet ring halfway with the bread cube mixture, taking care that there are no air pockets. Place 1 rounded spoonful of Sarabeth's spreadable fruit in the center of each pudding. Fill with the remaining bread cube mixture. Poke your fingers into each pudding to level them. Carefully pour enough of the remaining crème anglaise to cover the cubes.
- Carefully transfer the half-sheet pan of puddings to the oven. Bake at 250 F. (122 C.) After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 200 F. (108 C.) Continue baking until the puddings bounce back when lightly pressed in the centers, about 50 minutes. Let cool until tepid, about 30 minutes. Slip off the rings.
- For each serving, place a pudding on a dessert plate. Spoon about 2 ½ tablespoons of the reserved crème anglaise around the pudding.
Christmas Buttery Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread Cookies traditionally have just a few ingredients, so the buttery flavor really comes through. My cookies get a little extra crunch from the sugar sprinkled over the hot baked cookies as they come out of the oven. You can cut out any size or shape you like. Shapes with rounded edges bake best, because sharp points (on stars, for example) tend to get too brown. These caveats aside, shortbread is really quite easy to make.
Preparation time:20 minutes
Cooking time:12 minutes
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
grated zest of half a lemon
1-2/3rd cups (8 ounces) unbleached flour
4 teaspoons granulated sugar for sprinkling.
1. In the bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle blade, beat the butter, superfine sugar, vanilla and lemon zest on medium speed until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. With the machine on very low speed, gradually add the flour, mixing just until the dough is combined. Do not overmix. Gather the dough into a ball.
2. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Roll into 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Place on a large piece of plastic wrap. Fold the plastice wrap loosely over the dough to enclose it, keeping the edge of the wrap at right angles. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to fill the corners of the wrap. This will give you a nice rectangle that will be easy to roll out after chilling. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate until the dough is chilled and firm, but not rock hard, about 1 hour.
3. Position the racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
4. Rap the 4 edges of the dough rectangle a few times on the work surface. Unwrap the dough and place on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Roll out the dough into a 1/4" thick rectangle. (If the dough cracks, it is too cold; let stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes and try again.
5. Using a 2" round cookie cutter dipped in flour, cut out the shortbread, cutting them out very closely to reduce the amount of scraps. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 inch space between the cookies. Gather up the remaining dough, rewrap in plastice, roll into another 1/4" thick rectangle, chill for about 10 minutes, and cut out more cookies. Repeat chilling and cutting until all of the dough is used up.
6. Bake, switching the position of the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the shortbread is very lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the cookies with the granulated sugar (the sugar will not stick if the cookies aren't hot). Cool the cookies completely on the baking sheets. Remove and serve!