Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You Get What You Get

You don’t get to choose your birthday—you’re born when you’re born, and that’ll be the day and month that you’re supposed to celebrate for the rest of your life. More importantly, your birthday dessert options will more than likely be influenced by your season, so you’d better like it.
In this part of the world, winter birthdays get peppermint, chocolate, nuts, and other generally produce-free desserts. That’s me, a December baby. Spring gets citrus and carrot, maybe some coconut. Summer is a jackpot with all the fruit-based desserts you can imagine: berries and stone fruits coming out of your ears. And fall—fall is a great time for dessert: apples and pears, pumpkins and other squashes, cinnamon and nutmeg.
My dad is a fall baby and he loves bread pudding. So this year I decided to make him a pear raisin bread pudding from Chuck Williams and Kristine Kidd’s new cookbook, Cooking at Home. I swapped raisins for cranberries, and made a bourbon sauce and whipped cream to go with it.
It’s the first recipe that I’ve tried out of the book, and I’ll try more. They do a nice job of setting the stage for recipes: what’s a pudding, good ways to change the recipe. And the pages are well laid out—each step in the recipe lines up with the ingredient so it’s easier to read as you go.
I hope my dad is happy with his fall birthday desserts, because that's what he gets. I certainly enjoyed making this one. And eating it.

Pear Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
From Cooking at Home, Chuck Williams

7 T unsalted butter
4 firm pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
4 day-old baguettes cut into 1/2 inch cubes, about 12 cups
¾ cup raisins
6 eggs
1 t almond extract
¼ t nutmeg
1/8 t salt
4 cups half-and-half
1 pint heavy cream, whipped
Bourbon Sauce

  • Butter a 9x13 inch pan.
  • Sauté 4 T butter, pear slices, ¼ cup brown sugar and cinnamon in a large frying pan until soft, about 8 minutes.
  • Melt the remaining butter. Spread half of the bread cubes into the pan, and brush with half the melted butter. Layer the pears on top of the bread. Sprinkle with raisins. Cover with the remaining bread cubes and brush with the rest of the melted butter.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Whisk in ½ cup brown sugar, almond extract, nutmeg and salt. Add the half-and-half and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and pears.
  • Cover the pudding with waxed paper and weight it down with another pan, let stand for 10 minutes so all the bread soaks up the egg mixture. Remove the pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic and waxed paper. Sprinkle the top with ¼ cup brown sugar and bake for an hour. Remove from oven and let it sit for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with unsweetened whipped cream and bourbon sauce.

Bourbon Sauce 
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ t kosher salt
5 T bourbon
5 T cream
  • Heat all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is slightly thickened. About 6 minutes.


Diane said...

Sounds lovely!! Remember the one Dale St. cafe made? We never made it there on our visit in late August, too busy eating green chili allover town.

pleasantcompany said...

Thanks, Diane. I don't remember their bread pudding, but I do remember Dale Street. I haven't been back to the Springs for so long!