Thursday, October 1, 2009
When Mary Poppins Meets The Raj...
As a kid, I had the Mary Poppins books which had about as much in common with my blue collar Italian life in San Francisco as The Egyptian Book of the Dead. In these books there was always tea and crumpets, buses had upper decks and chimney sweeps abounded..forget the flying stuff I totally expected to be able to do that, also, kids were always being given basins of bread pudding. With raisins.
My experience with pudding was generally my mother making Jello instant pudding or something from my Mad Men era childhood called Py-Oh-My!
Yeah. My feelings exactly.
As for raisins, my mother used to and still does pick them out of anything that contains them, so we didn't see many of those around the house. Given this history it's easy to see why I became fascinated with Bread Pudding, as "the other". Until today I'd eaten it, but never made any myself.
Through Foodbuzz.com, where I'm a Featured Publisher I received two large loaves of Natures Pride Bread, One 12 Grain and one Whole Wheat. Since I'm not much of a sandwich person I decided to turn one loaf into an Indian style bread pudding.
When I dd my bread pudding research I discovered that no matter how you make it, it's a pretty straightforward recipe. Bread, milk, sugar, butter, eggs. Mix 'em up, bake it in the oven there it is. It's also very adaptable. As I read about this dish, I saw that people have put all sorts of things in bread pudding over the years, and almost every country has vamped on this basic recipe which somehow has deep connotations of Victorian Empire..and Mary Poppins.
So, what did I do, realizing that of course this dish must have been eaten in India. Prepared by homesick Memsaabs working with to them, strange ingredients. After they left, and returned to Mother England, Bread Pudding stuck around, so to speak. But in a changed and far more exciting way than anything ones' Nanny might fix.
So Indian Style Bread Pudding anyone??...This is what I did.
I had a 1 lb 8 oz loaf of Natures Pride 12 grain bread. I used 1 lb of that about 3/4 of the loaf.
1.) cut 1 lb of Natures Pride Whole Grain Bread into 1 inch cubes and set aside.
2.) Lightly butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and dust it with a bit of powdered sugar to keep your bread pudding from sticking. Set this aside also.
3.) 1/3 cup of sultana raisins. Soak these in a cup of warm water and set them aside.
Now, in a large bowl mix
3.) 1 14oz can of coconut milk
4.) 14 oz of whole milk
5.) 1/2 cup of light brown sugar. NOTE: I used 1/2 cup of jaggery which is an Indian palm sugar. Because of the fact that jaggery comes in large rock like clumps. I heated my milk a bit and blended the jaggery into it until it dissolved. Let it cool a bit and then mixed it with the coconut milk
6.) 4 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk well beaten
7.) 1/4 tsp of salt
8.) 1 Tbs of rose flower water
9) 1 Tbs of Kewra Water (screwpine essence)
10.) 3/4 cup of dried unsweetened grated coconut
to this add:
The drained soaked raisins, then fold the bread cubes into this mixture gently.
Pour the whole thing into the greased and sugared baking dish and set it aside to rest for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes break..pop the whole thing into a pre-heated 325 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, pull out your bread pudding and sprinkle another 1/2 cup of dried grated unsweetened coconut over the top. Put the Bread Pudding back in the oven for another 25 to 30 minutes. It's done when it's nice and firmly springy if you poke it a bit in the middle.
Take it out and let it cool.
Now what to do about a topping. I wanted to do a spicy mango topping but there were no fresh mango this morning so instead I opted for the local peaches. I bought two of them.
1.) peel and thinly slice 2 peaches
2.) place them in a small pot with 1/8 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water and the juice of 1/2 lemon
3.) Cook gently till the mixture starts to boil and thicken
4.) add a pinch of salt
5.) A pinch of ground ginger
6.) a pinch of ground cinnamon
7.) a pinch of kashmiri chili powder. Good substitute is 1/2 a pinch of cayenne 1/2 a pinch of paprika. Be careful of the heat here, this is a dessert.
8.) a small piece of jaggery added after the mixture was hot to give it a smokey sweetness
Stir it all up, taste til you get something you like. I find sweetness is totally relative . I prefer hot to sweet but that's me. I was looking here for a spicy hot almost chutney like topping to be drizzled over my Bread Pudding. Use your imagination. Find something that suits you. Of course no one ever went wrong with whipped cream.
When your Bread Pudding is cooled pop it in the fridge for safe keeping.Serve it warmed with topping.
We're serving this to our neighbors teen aged son tonight as the dessert for a home cooked chicken dinner. Since they're visiting his grandma in France he's eating with us. He's 6 foot 4 and on the football, track and basketball team. This recipe makes a large pan of Bread Pudding. I don't expect to have much left over.