Meet my new friend. This is the Bread Pudding Muffin from this book. Kind of. I tweaked it a little. It's really, really good (incidentally, so is the book.
I love this recipe for several reasons:
1. I'm a sucker for anything that comes in a miniature serving.
2. Sifted powdered sugar on top makes me giddy.
3. I heart bread pudding. Really, anything that combines dairy with eggs and carbs (see also: tapioca pudding, macaroni and cheese, et al)
4. I love make-ahead recipes, and this certainly qualifies.
And another reason I love this recipe - it's a bit of a blank slate. Sure, it's good as is. But there are endless possibilities.
The basic recipe:
1 loaf Artisan Bread
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. cream (or, if you're feeling appropriately stingy, 1/2 c. half n' half and 1 c. cream.)
2 tsp vanilla
Scant 1/4 tsp salt
Powdered sugar for sprinkling.
1. Cut the ends off the bread, save for another use. Slice rest of bread into 1" (or so, maybe a bit smaller) squares; place in a large bowl.
2. Toss with cinnamon.
3. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk, cream, vanilla, and salt. Pour mixture over the spiced bread. Give it a brief stir so everything's properly damp. Cover and let stand refrigerated overnight, or up to 24 hours.
4. Line two muffin tins with paper cups. Spoon mixture into the cups, about 1/2 c. each. Depending on how long your bread soaked, you may find it's easier to kind of place some of the bread chunks into the liners to make sure each space gets filled. Spoon remaining custard (it'll be hanging out in the bottom of the bowl) over the tops. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. When they're done, you want the tops nice and golden and the bottoms to be squashy. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve warm. Refrigerate the leftovers.
So that's the gist of it. The fun thing is, you could go a bit wild with it by adding:
2. Candied hazelnuts
3. Almond extract and slivered almonds
5. Diced apples.
6. Finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
7. Vanilla Bean
8. Orange zest
9. Lemon zest
I'm definitely making these again. And again, and again, starting most likely with a Bible Study brunch next week. If you experiment, let me know!
In other news...
1. I bought a new camera, another digital SLR, and the photo above is the first publicly released photo I've taken with it :-) I'm very pleased with it, though I haven't used it much yet. We'll be in Vermont for Danny's graduation shortly, and I expect to take it for an extended spin during that time.
2. I'm still crazy excited about the season finale of House, in which the the heavens open and the world is righted, at least where my favorite ascetic doctor is concerned.
3. If you watched the season finale of Castle and wondered what that song was, it's this one.
4. I have to say, Glee made me sad last night. I hurt for Rachel as she and her birth mother try to eke out a relationship without the benefit of a shared past. I was frustrated on Finn's behalf because, as much as he shouldn't have used the terminology he did, his basic reaction was not unwarranted. His not wanting to share a bedroom with an openly gay young man is as understandable as a teen girl not wanting to share a bedroom with a teen boy. While I appreciate Kurt's dad's reaction, the onus was on him and Finn's mother for putting Finn in that position in the first place. They are the adults. They need to buy a vowel.
But Rachel's mom-ed over Lady Gaga outfit? Adorable.
4. I picked this up at the library and have had a ton of fun flipping through it. The recipes are inventive and fun, the ideas are clever and sophisticated, and the photos are frankly quite impressive. If I turn my artistic attentions to photographing teacups, you'll know why.
5. If you haven't seen Invictus yet, do. Go. Rent. Now.
6. It's 75 degrees in Vermont right now. Just saying. I wonder how the mini bread puddings would be with warm maple syrup.