Panettone Bread Pudding

Anyone who’s been around this blog for a while knows I’m a huge fan of bread pudding. It might’ve even been my first dessert-love, especially the way my grandma made it — just a touch sweet, with meringue on top, served with evaporated milk poured over the top. (Because you cannot separate a Cajun from their Pet Milk. Preach.)

But over the years, I’ve fooled around with the basic recipe a lot, and come up with different variations — everything from a blueberry-heavy pudding to a bananas foster bread pudding that I wouldn’t kick out of bed. But this version with Panettone is maybe the simplest one, and certainly has a great holiday spin. And if you must top it with something other than Pet Milk, it does not suck with the warm spiced rum sauce I found at Bon Appetit. Good gawd! Outrageous doesn’t even begin to cover it.

See what Darcie had to say about this over at Gourmet Creative, and enjoy!

Panettone Bread Pudding

Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert
Panettone Bread Pudding makes an everyday dessert extra-special for the holidays.

Ingredients

  • 1 Panettone bread loaf
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 12oz evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons butter (chilled, cut into small dice)

Optional

  • 1 splash bourbon

Note

Since Panettone is such a moist bread, you’ll need to dry it out before proceeding with the recipe. If possible, a day before you make this, cut the bread into large cubes (about 1 1/2”) and let them rest on a baking sheet on the counter until you’re ready to prepare the bread pudding. Alternately, toast the bread cubes in a 200°F oven until they’re dried out a bit. Check for doneness every 10 minutes. Ideally, the bread cubes should be as dry as stale bread, but less dry than toast.

Delicious topped with Spiced Rum Sauce from Bon Appetit.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter bottom and sides of an 8x8-inch square baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except for bread. Add bread, tossing and pressing down so it absorbs the egg mixture evenly. Let soak for a 30 minutes, then spoon into prepared baking dish. If any of the bread cubes are still dry at this point, add a splash of milk and let it soak in a for a few minutes. Sprinkle butter cubes evenly over the surface of the bread pudding.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes, or pudding is evenly browned and puffy. Bread pudding will shrink as it cools.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Breadstick Twists

Welcome to Small Bites Week! For seven days, Darcie and I will be featuring nibbles and noshes that are perfect for holiday parties or just a light dinner when you’re overwhelmed by your seasonal responsibilities.

These prosciutto-wrapped breadstick twists fall into the party camp, and look really impressive, like you spent all day making them. But fear not! Although this is a from-scratch recipe, they couldn’t be simpler, especially if you have a stand mixer to help out. (If you don’t, I think that’d make a great item to add to your Christmas wish list, don’t you?) Find Darcie’s post and recipe here.

Serve these with little dipping bowls of olive oil if you’re so inclined, or just straight up with a cheese and charcuterie platter. They’re delicious any way.

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.

Prosciutto Breadsticks | Amy Roth Photo

Prosciutto-Wrapped Breadstick Twists

Great for parties, Prosciutto-Wrapped Breadstick Twists are as lovely as they are delicious.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 packet instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 3oz sliced prosciutto

Directions

Stir together the flour, yeast, salt and pepper. Add the oil and warm water and mix with a spoon until combined. Knead by hand for 10 minutes or alternatively, mix with the dough hook of an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, coat with a small amount of olive oil and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft free place to rise for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (about 200°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Carefully cut the sliced prosciutto into strips about 1/2 inch (about 1 cm) wide and set aside. Remove small pieces of the dough and roll and stretch into strips, about as long as your baking sheet is wide. Wrap each dough strip about half way down with a thin strip of prosciutto and twist the dough as you go. Lay the twists on the baking sheet and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the breadsticks are browned and crisp. Remove from the oven, let cool and serve or store in an airtight container.

My First Faux-caccia

You know, this whole gluten-free thing hasn’t been quite the pain in the ass I expected at first, and not just because I’m lucky enough only to get joint pain when I eat gluten (meaning I can cheat without major repercussions from time to time). I work in New York, so GF lunches are fairly easy to find, and once I got over my egg sandwich craving for breakfast it was pretty smooth sailing. The difficulties I’m having are in finding acceptable pre-packaged bread and pasta. I’ve turned out a few decent loaves of bread on my own in the past few months, but dried pasta offerings have been uniformly disappointing so far. If you have any recommendations, I’m all ears!

One of these surprisingly good homemade bread experiments was a gluten-free redo of a Concord grape focaccia I first tried last year. It took a couple of weeks to get to the point of baking that bread, just because focaccia is a favorite of mine and I knew no wheatless version could compare to the real thing… but then I sucked it up, put on my big girl pants and got to work.

And you know what? The weeks of anxiety were just a silly way to spend my time — it turned out great! Gil and I ate about half of it that first day, so I’d consider it a success. Also? It’s much, much easier than baking honest-to-goodness bread — no kneading involved and no overnight rest in the fridge, so the time between craving and craving fulfillment is much abridged.

I just received my copy of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, which has another version of focaccia that I’m dying to try. Let’s hope those Concord grapes hold out one more week!

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “My First Faux-caccia”

From the Market: Week 1

Kofta with Spinach & Arugula Salad

The Ringwood Farmers’ Market opened this weekend, and not one minute too soon! I’ve been craving their fresh produce since the weekly market closed last November; winter market (new this year) only took place once a month, and the pickings were slim. It was winter, after all.

But now we’re back to greens, berries, honey and meats from small local farms, so let’s dive in.

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What I missed most about the early markets was the amazing spinach and arugula from Bialas Farms, not to mention the rest of the veggies and fresh herbs that always make up the bulk of my shopping experience on weekends. Because I was impatient to try the first haul, I made brunch as soon as we got home — a quick pesto with the spinach and arugula, some walnuts and grated locatelli, all smoothed out with a Ligurian olive oil. The pasta was a gluten-free selection from Fontanarosa’s, which I only visited for the first time this weekend. I now plan to shop there all summer long.

[About the gluten-free thing: I cut out the major sources of gluten about a month ago after reading The GenoType Diet. I’m highly suspicious of any diet at all (and definitely didn’t try this to lose weight — so don’t worry, those of you who know me), but thought I’d give this one a try since a lot of what the author said about my type rang true, given my experience. Anyway, I can honestly say that the mild-to-moderate joint pain I’ve had for the past few years has completely disappeared since I cut the out the gluten. (Other things I won’t go into here have cleared up as well.) Maybe it’s all unrelated, and I hope it is, but we’ll see how I feel when I re-introduce regular pastas and whole-grain bread into my meals.]

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Even though we were invited to a BBQ Sunday afternoon, I had to get in a little grilling of my own this weekend, so I threw together a quick-ish lunch. The appetizers were inspired by this post at Smitten Kitchen and I was thrilled with the way they turned out:

That’s a lot of good stuff packed into a couple of bites, and it came together with almost no effort on my part. I just grilled 1/2-inch-thick slices of homemade bread till they were toasted, smeared them with loads of truffle butter, some room-temperature robiola (one of my favorites, but you could try whatever you like here), and topped them off with ribbons of asparagus, crunchy fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper.

To make the ribbons, just grasp the tip of the spear and use a vegetable peeler to shave down the length of the asparagus.

Our main course was a kofta salad. The spinach and arugula made another appearance here, tossed with tzaziki sauce for the salad base. I had a few extra asparagus ribbons from the appetizers, so I threw them on as a garnish. But the real draw was the kofta made with ground lamb from Snoep Winkel Farm. I used the recipe that’s become my standard, substituting walnuts for pistachios since those were, um, about 18 months out of date. Oops.

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And then we went to a BBQ where I consumed lots of steak and delicious veggie skewers, so I was pretty meated- and veggied-out by Sunday morning and took it easy with a little goat’s milk yogurt with fresh strawberries, blueberries and honey. (Sadly, the blueberries were store-bought since they aren’t quite in season here, but the The Orchards of Concklin‘s strawberries are as perfect as ever, and their peonies aren’t half-bad either. I’ll bring my camera next time we go so I can show you just how popular Rufus and Otis are with the proprietor. The honey is local, too — from Nina’s Red Barn Farm, where we buy our fresh eggs and where I’m evidently known as Rufus’s mom.)

gluten-free

Hope everyone had a safe and relaxing Memorial Day Weekend.

This is going to be as difficult as I thought

Homemade bread’s a little like sex — even when it isn’t transcendent, it’s still pretty good.

To put it another way, this focaccia didn’t really come close to meeting my expectations for the Life List, but the charred bits of lemon rind and salty crunch were enough to keep me stealing bits all weekend whenever I found myself in the kitchen. And maaaaybe I found myself in the kitchen just a little more often than usual, but I’m not really helping my case here, am I?

I had two issues with it: The lemons were far too tart, even sliced paper-thin, and the bread itself wasn’t as pillowy as I know it could be. Using Meyer lemons would solve the first issue, but I’m not sure what to do about the second.

Any suggestions or recipe recommendations? I’d be happy to invite you over for a sample, assuming I don’t just park myself in the kitchen until it’s all gone.

Your Thanksgiving leftovers

This year’s Thanksgiving feast could only have been more low key if we’d gone the TV dinner route. My mother-in-law wasn’t able to visit, so I planned to simply roast a chicken and serve a few veggies for the two of us, but ended up doing even less than that when our neighbors invited us to share dinner with them. It’s a little embarrassing that I’ve lived here for four years as of this weekend (which reminds me, this blog just turned three!) and haven’t managed to get to know them yet. I blame Gil for not introducing me around when I moved.

Not wanting to go empty-handed, I pulled out the bag of almost-overripe persimmons I’d been storing for a couple of weeks and got to work on an upside-down cake that sounded like a perfect ending to a Thanksgiving meal — with two sticks of butter, it was possibly the most indulgent cake I’ve ever made.

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I did a quick google search when the idea for the cake hit me (my standard approach, since very few ideas are truly new), and found only a couple of recipes. Joanne Weir‘s parmesan flan has been one of the highlights of my summer for the past two years, so I opted for her version of the cake and came away very, very happy indeed.

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Her secret for keeping things light and airy in such a rich cake? Whipping the egg whites, then folding them into the rest of the batter. Even so, the cake was much more soufflé-like in the pan than I expected:

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Anyway, we had a wonderful time with the Edwards family and I feel like I finally have friends in the neighborhood, which is no small thing. They’re a creative family, into drawing, painting, photography, music, fashion…so you can imagine how much I enjoyed myself. Oh, AND I finally got a house tour with details of the major renovation they did last year! So we have lots of inspiration for our own house project, whenever we start.

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The next day, I roasted the Zuni chicken (with bittersweet pimenton added to the salt & pepper rub) originally intended for Thanksgiving and made a bread-based dressing with roasted acorn squash on the side. Nothing terribly exciting, but repurposed as breakfast this morning, I fell in love:

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I pan-fried some of the leftover dressing, served it atop a thin drizzle of gravy and topped it with a fried egg. “X + egg = heaven” is undefined for Gil, so I waited till he was running an errand to work it up. (How anyone can snub a runny egg yolk over just about anything is beyond me, but hey, in sickness & in [mental] health, etc…)

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For Saturday’s dinner, there wasn’t a hint of Thanksgiving left over in the leftovers, though I forced myself to use the contents of my fridge and pantry in a stab at eating down the house. We ended up with a North African-inspired couscous dish that took maybe 30 minutes to make, but had a great depth of flavor mainly because it relied so heavily on leftovers.

To start, I made a quick harissa paste and set it aside for the flavors to develop while I worked on the rest of the meal. I hit the freezer for a package of caramelized onions, which I browned in some olive oil, then added two thinly sliced cloves of garlic, and reinforced the warm spices from the harissa — ground cumin, caraway seeds and ground coriander — in the sizzling oil. When the spices were fragrant, I added a package of Israeli couscous, bite-sized pieces of dark chicken, chopped roasted acorn squash, leftover chicken stock and two tablespoons of harissa paste. Only 15 minutes later, we were sitting down to a meal I wouldn’t even mind making from scratch someday.

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I hope you add had a filling and fun-filled Thanksgiving. Now I need to figure out a way to work from home, because the last four days spent with all of my boys has been too good to miss again for 13 hours a day or more.

recipes and sweet doggy pictures after the jump

Continue reading “Your Thanksgiving leftovers”

Finally, focaccia

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Finally.

It took two weekends of tweaking, combining and adapting recipes, but I finally settled on a Concord grape focaccia (inspired by schiacciata, but less desserty) we couldn’t stop eating. Gil did his damage to it while I was away at work, but each night before bed, I stood at the counter nibbling on tiny pieces that always added up to the one large piece I should’ve just cut for myself at the start.

Apart from the focaccia, I didn’t really do any cooking last weekend because I was working on my first (paying) portrait shoot! Last winter, Cara Packard, the super-talented owner of Cara Linn Cakes, hired me to take some promotional pictures for her business. She’s getting married next month, so her sister did a little sleuthing to find me and arrange a surprise bridal portrait session in the city. I had a great time working with someone so natural and relaxed in front of the camera, and found that taking pictures of humans is even more fun than taking pictures of food. Go figure.

a few bridal pictures and focaccia recipe after the jump

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