Last week I came home from work and made my bread pudding. I had planned to make my pudding early, but I purchased French bread for the pudding and then read on some others' blogs that this bread was not a good choice for the pudding. I had wanted to follow Dorrie's suggestions of Challah or Brioche but purchased the French in desperation because Panera had no other type of white bread available.
But, after reading of the dismal results others had with the French bread, I decided to try once more to find Challah or Brioche. So, back to the markets I traveled. This time the Fresh Market came through. But, now I was making the pudding on Tuesday evening and I was tired. I did not get home from work and my errands until after 8PM, I set to work immediately. The first thing I learned is that Challah is one heck of a lot lighter than French bread. I must have picked up a one pound loaf of Challah. It took almost the full loaf of Challah to make 12 ounces of cubes. It took three slices of the French bread to make 12 ounces.
Of course, I needed to "stale" up my Challah. Like a fool I put all of the cubes on one sheet pan and stuck that in the oven. This meant that rather than taking a few minutes to develop a tray of stale crusts it took me almost 45 minutes. Sometimes those little gray cells are just pasty white and totally uncooperative! Nevertheless I persevered and got the cubes looking very toasty.
I whipped up the chocolate custard with minimal fuss and I believe no eggy bits! I poured this over the bread cubes and commenced drowning my cubes. I fully expected all of the cubes to be brown by the time the pudding was finished soaking and baking. The cubes absorbed just about all of the liquid before I put the pan into the oven.
I took it out of the oven and was waiting for it to cool to room temperature so I could try a taste when the inevitable happened. Well, it is inevitable when you get to be my age. I fell asleep, I woke up around 1AM. I put some plastic wrap on the pudding, put in the refrigerator and called it a night.
The pudding was a smash hit at work. People who have been turning down my treats, because "I'm making them fat" were eager to try this dish. The pan was scraped clean in minutes. I'll definitely give this another try if ever my guests are craving bread pudding. Visit Lauren's Blog and find the recipe or buy the book.
My personal tastes lean more to tonight's selection, Chocolate Cream Tart. I made the filling last night and either I am the queen of pastry cream, or I need to watch my heat. That stuff came together so fast it made my head spin. I was literally dizzy standing there in front of the stove! It was extremely disconcerting.
On the other hand, this tart crust continues to elude me. It never comes together. I end up pouring dust into the tart pan and pressing it down. If it weren't for the melting butter turning the crust into one solid piece, I would have nothing to show for my efforts but a pile of flour and some lumps! I had this same issue the last time I made one of Dorrie's tart crusts. I obviously need a lot more practice with this recipe. It is just way too dry - and I use extra large eggs! I would probably have the Mojave dessert going on if I tried using an actual large egg! I wouldn't be able to see the food processor for the dust that would be getting kicked up!
(Tart Dust Prior to Baking when it will morph
into an actual crust - the magic of baking!!!)
I am going to combine all of the elements tomorrow morning and bring the pie into work. I don't want the dust/crust to get soggy. I will report back tomorrow on how it tastes. The crust looks fine now that it has melted into an actual crust and is no longer just a pile of non-cohesive ingredients. Sigh - pastry is usually one of my better areas of expertise - oh well - another area to improve on . . . sadly there are oh, so many!
Everyone loved this tart! Before I was finished slicing it Karl was back sneaking a second slice. His office is right next to the break room. He said being able to do that was his perk of location. I was very happy with the taste of the tart. I liked everything about it except for my utter failure at making the tart dough itself! It taste fine, it just doesn't come together for me.
I'll just have to keep practicing. I'm sure my friends at work, will
be willing to make the sacrifice and eat my trials - as long as the
errors continue to taste as good as this!
Thanks to Kim for choosing this recipe. She has posted the recipe on her blog Scrumptious Photography. Or as I said above, you could buy the book! I'll let you know how the pie was received tomorrow.