One good thing about being in the US is the opportunity to experience distinct international cuisines. Thanks to that, I could keep my mother well informed on Mediterranean food, making her stay in Egypt comfortable.
Bread is an interesting food preparation common to most international cuisines. The breads of kinds and sizes bewilder me most. Though bakeries in India produce great quality breads, I also appreciate the variety of breads offered here.
While flipping through the pages of Ruchira, I came across a recipe for Bread Pudding. It is one of the few recipes in the book having an egg as an ingredient. I found it interesting, simple and challenging too. The simplicity lies in the challenge to prepare this delicacy without the egg. The eggs here have a pungent odour that puts me off completely, so I don’t prefer to use them. Interestingly , Kamala Aji has insisted on the usage of a brown bread! That sure looks like a healthy option, n'est ce pas?
- 1 cup of brown bread / white bread pieces. I used Safeway’s crushed wheat bread.
- 5 tbsp of sugar (depends on the type of sugar and taste). I added about 30 tsps of super fine sugar.Since I was going to bake the pudding the sugar quantity had to be slightly more.
- 1 cup of low fat milk
- 2 tbsp of unsalted butter / 1 egg / pure ghee. I used 2 tbsp of heavy cream. Egg less.
- 1.5 tsps of vanilla or other essence. I used vanilla essence which is available at most Indian and American grocery stores or marts.
- 1 apple/strawberries/other fruits. This is completely optional. There is another bread pudding recipe in the book with apple which could be merged into this one. However,I used some almonds and walnuts (finely crushed).
- 5 tbsps Rice flakes, that’s my addition to this recipe. Rice flakes shall impart the crunchy and crispy touch in a soft chewy bite.
- 1/2 tsp of baking powder (my addition).
Total Time =Cooking Time + Preparation Time = 40 minutes (max)
Pledging the Pudding
I immersed the pieces of bread in 1/2 cup of milk. If egg has to be added then one needs to beat it thoroughly and pour it over the bread. Since, I am not using an egg, the heavy cream, vanilla essence (or cardamom powder etc.), sugar and milk need to be whisked together until they lather enough. I poured this mixture over the bread, mashed it gently with my finger tips and added the baking powder, walnuts, almonds and rice flakes to it. Whipped it all together with a long stemmed steel spoon.
The book suggests that this bread mixture for pudding must be steamed in the pressure cooker and refrigerated. However,my Aai (mother) makes similar pudding but in a different way. I followed her concept of baking instead of the one given in the book.
Aai puts the bread mixture in a sauce pan arranged on a medium-high flame, and covers it with a lid. One has to keep eyes glued to this pudding because it might just stick to the pan. It unveils an excellent aroma and that's when one knows it's ready. The upper side should be slightly pinkish while the bottom should be caramelized and crispy.
I refrigerated the wet mixture over night since my friends were going to be at my place next day for lunch and baked it inside the oven, pre-heated at about 300 deg F for about 15 minutes (instead of using Aai’s sauce pan approach).
You can eat it JLT! I prefer it with tomato sauce :)
In case you are using fruits, all you need to do is lay alternate layers of fruit & bread mixture into a pan. Once all the layers are set onto a greased pan, just put it on flame for a couple of minutes or bake it in the oven at 300 deg F (pre-heat, min, it may vary).
Sweet Cravings fulfilled for the day! Hopefully, Kariz & Rids would stay alive for another of such lunch tortures in future!