Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sweet, Sweet Raisins

Now that I no longer revolve around a 9-5 schedule a great mentor of mine-Micol Negrin, suggested that I use the time to improve on recipes and techniques. So, I have been focusing on desserts. Nothing complicated or overly sophisticated, rather dishes that reflect food I love--comforting, clean flavors achieved for everyday pantry items that are extremely delicious.

After driving up to the Hamptons this weekend we stopped at my favorite gourmet market, Citarella. Along with a ton of little items, I purchased a loaf of brioche. Two days later, and back in my NY home, I still haven't eaten a piece of it. Rather than allow it to go stale, I searched Food Network for a bread pudding recipe. With 31 reviews I happily stumbled on the Neelys' Rum Raisin Bread Pudding. It couldn't be easier to put together.

In a saucepan, warm 3 cups of milk, 1/4tsp of cinnamon, 3/4 cup of brown sugar (I used light brown); 1tsp of vanilla; 3 tbs of dark rum and 1/2 cup raisins. I also, added 1/4tsp of cardamom, a pinch of salt to round out the flavors, and a stick of cinnamon to infuse the flavors. Bring to a gentle simmer. (I let it simmer for 15-20 minutes) Meanwhile, cube brioche (7-8 slices) into medium cubes and set aside. Then add warm milk mixture over bread, stir and let sit for 30 minutes. After, beat 4 eggs and add to milk-bread mixture, stir and place in buttered dish. I dotted bits of butter on top and gave a light sprinkle of granulated sugar on top in order to achieve a golden crust. Bake for approx 50 minutes at 350 degrees. You want the bread pudding to be golden, crisp and moist inside, so don't overcook. Allow to rest and serve alone, or with whipped cream, or a little warm chocolate sauce (and whipped cream).

As you may notice from the photo, I couldn't help taking a small nibble. It was warm, well balanced, deliciously moist and the hints of cinnamon and sweetness of the raisins came together perfectly. Considering its rainy out, it would taste fantastic in bed with a book. Either way, definitely make this easy recipe and spike it up a bit to make it your own. Trust me, the mere minutes it takes to put together is worth the warm and Autumn like scents emitted and the warm comfort it provides to the tummy.

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