Tag Archives: brown sugar

Christmas Bread Pudding

Things have been super busy in Casa del Kitchen as we get ready for the holidays.  If you’re like us and you spend your holidays traveling and not hosting, the lead-up gets spent in frenetic travel preparation.  There’s been lots of shopping, wrapping, late work nights to get everything done before year’s end, and this week, we’re traveling to see family for the holidays.  Sadly, it’s also one of the times of year where I find myself not cooking much.  We’ve been subsisting on quick meals and take-out over the last two weeks, and I’m definitely ready for some fabulous home cooked treats.  Lucky for us, we’ll be seeing both our families over the next few weeks, and we’ll likely be stuffed to the gills for the next month!  I did, however, recently find time to make this delicious apple walnut raisin bread pudding, which I think would make a tasty addition to any holiday spread.  It’s also a great recipe to make ahead — just reheat in the oven during dinner, and serve warm with some fresh whipped cream (or, if you’re an ice cream lover like Mr. Kitchen, a scoop of vanilla).

On a separate note, Mr. Kitchen and I exchanged our gifts today and he got me a super kick-ass netbook so I hope to be posting more regularly!

apple walnut raisin bread pudding
Apple Walnut Raisin Bread Pudding

Apple Walnut Raisin Bread Pudding

1 loaf Challah Bread (cubed and crusts removed)

3 apples, diced

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup raisins

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

6 eggs

1 tbsp cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350º

Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and put the bread cubes in the pan and roast in the oven until lightly browned (about 10-15 minutes).  Remove from oven and let cool, and then put the bread into a buttered 13 x 9 baking dish.  Leave the oven on.

In a medium sauce pan, cook the apples, butter and sugar until the apples are a bit soft (about 5 minutes).   Pour the apple mixture over the bread cubes in the baking dish.  Add raisins and walnuts to pan and gently toss to mix apples, bread, walnuts and raisins together.

In a mixing bowl, beat the brown sugar, heavy cream, milk and spices together.  Add eggs one at a team and beat together.  Add cornstarch and beat for 2-3 minutes until fully incorporated.

Pour the custard over the bread mixture and let set for 20-30 minutes, until the bread soaks up the liquid a bit.  Place in the middle rack of the oven and cook for about one hour, or until golden brown and the bread offers a bit of resistance in the middle from a gentle touch.

Diced apples for the apple walnut raisin bread pudding

Diced apples for the apple walnut raisin bread pudding

Apples mixed with the bread cubes

Apples mixed with the bread cubes

Letting the custard soak into the apple raisin walnut bread pudding

Letting the custard soak into the apple raisin walnut bread pudding

Baked Apple Raisin Walnut Bread Pudding

Baked Apple Raisin Walnut Bread Pudding

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Welcome, Fall

The weather in New York City has been glorious this past week (except for that whole freakish Tornado thing).   I’ve talked about how much I love this season, when it starts getting chilly and people buy new school supplies — I love the promise of an empty notebook!  Fall is also the season when Mr. Kitchen and I truly fell in love, so this season has all sorts of super happy memories for me.   One of our best dates was going to some of the OpenHouse NY sites.  Each year in the fall, there’s an “Open House NY” weekend, where sites that are generally not open to the public open their doors for everyone to visit.  We got to visit the garden rooftops surrounding Rockefeller Center and the Mason’s lodge in the city.  I love exploring the city and I was so so happy to discover that Mr. Kitchen did too.

Another reason to love fall?  The produce choices available in this season just can’t be beat.   So in honor of this fabulous time of year, where there are Apples! Pumpkins! Squash! All sorts of root vegetables! I thought it might be nice to focus on fall produce recipes for the next few weeks.

First up?  Apples.

Most people have an apple pie recipe, but apples make such a fabulous addition to all sorts of foods.  I’ve seen it added as a last step in stews, had it chopped and roasted with onions and celery with chicken, and all sorts of other mix-ups with turkey and other proteins.  My newest favorite is adding to it to a pork roast.  Actually, it’s more like adding a bourbon-infused apple pie to pork roast.

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

Pork Loin with Apple Bourbon Topping

The rub

2 lb pork loin

1 tbsp salt

pinch cayenne pepper

generous pinch thyme, pepper and rosemary

2 tbsp olive oil,  another 2 tbsp for searing

The topping

1 apple (I like Granny Smith), finely chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp  cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3 tbsp Bourbon (your choice, but a word to the wise — if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.)

A roasting pan

Preheat the oven to 325°

Mix together dry rub ingredients (salt, cayenne, pepper, etc.)  Rub down the pork loin with about 2 tbsp olive oil and then rub on dry ingredients.  Let stand 10 minutes.  In a pan large enough to fit the roast, heat the remaining olive oil.  Sear the roast on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.  (For a good tutorial on searing, see here)

Once the meat is seared, place it in the roasting pan.  I like to use roasting pans that have an elevated roasting rack.  I also add water to the base of the pan, as an extra insurance that the meat will remain tender.  Cook the roast in the oven, uncovered, for about a half an hour.  (You’ll be adding the topping to the roast and will be returning it to the oven.)

To make the topping, finely chop the apple and add the lemon juice.  Add vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg and bourbon.  Stir together well.

After the roast’s initial 30 minute cooking period, remove from oven and pile the apple topping on top of the roast.  Return to oven (make sure there’s still water in the base of the pan!) and cook until the center of the roast reaches 160° .  Generally, this takes about 40 minutes per pound, but I’ve found that using this topping makes the roast cook a bit slower.   We’re also cooking this at a slightly lower temperature, to let the apple flavoring soak into the meat.  If you’re shorter on time, a good guideline is 350° and 30 minutes per pound.  Let roast stand for 10 minutes before carving (it allows the meat to firm up to make slicing easier).

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

The pork with the olive oil and herbs rub

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

Searing the roast

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

Pile the apple mixture on top of the roast

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

Cooked and sliced pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

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