Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cranberry-Ginger Bread Pudding for 2--Breakfast or Dessert?

I have a thing about making desserts in individual portions. I'll own it.  I'll fess up. I guess I just think they're cute.  Manageable.  And I love bread pudding at holiday time.

I find myself, when in a good kitchen shop (like COOKS of CROCUS HILL on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul and in Stillwater--both in Minnesota), browsing around for ramekins, over-sized cups, and so on.  Anything that will go in the microwave, oven, or convection oven.  One of my regular ovens and my microwave are also convection ovens by design.  Did I get the verb-subject agreement here?
Sounds wonky.  In a pinch, one-cup glass measuring cups could be used.  Make sure they're oven-safe or they could shatter in the oven.

Back to the "pudding." Just a bit of warm spice and a toss of a few tiny jewels of fruit.  Simple, fast, and such a favorite.  No worry about baking things ahead or flouring up the whole kitchen.  Tear up some bread; beat eggs and milk.  Done.  A cup of great coffee laced with brandy; it could almost be a meal.  Maybe Christmas or New Year's breakfast!

Do make sure you place ramekins or mugs on a rimmed sheet to bake; they can make a mess if over-filled like this one.

Someone in my house once had (still has?) a book of important rules of life.  A Christmas gift, I think?  One of them was, "If a restaurant has bread pudding on the menu, order it."  (True? False?)
Here's my recipe for holiday bread pudding for two.  (Can be doubled.)  You can put it in one small, (perhaps one-quart?) casserole as well, but it's festive and happy in mugs, cups, or big ramekins.
Once cooled a bit, tie a red ribbon around each and call it a gift.  Here's how:

alyce's cranberry-ginger bread pudding for two or for you twice
  • 3 teaspoons softened butter, divided (some to grease cups and the rest to dot the top before baking)
  • 4 slices baguette, torn into about 4 pieces each 
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh or frozen cranberries (can sub dried cranberries if needed)
  • 2 tablespoon raisins
  • 8 thin slices Granny Smith apple, unpeeled (or any green apple)
  • Cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground (dry) ginger
  • 1/8 cup white, granulated sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons grated or finely chopped white chocolate, optional 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit ( 205 degrees Celsius).
  2. With 1 teaspoon of the butter, grease 2 large ramekins or oven safe coffee cups and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Fit four pieces of bread in each ramekin, overlapping to make fit. Add 1 tablespoon cranberries, 2 slices of apple, and a few raisins.  Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.  Repeat.
  4. Beat together remaining ingredients except white chocolate (eggs-sugar) and, dividing evenly, pour over the bread mixture. (Don't fill more than about 3/4 full.)  Using your clean fingers, gently press the top pieces of bread down into the custard mixture to make sure they've gotten wet.  They needn't be totally submerged.  Dot the top of each pudding with about a teaspoon of butter each.
  5. Bake  30-40 minutes or until golden and the custard mixture (eggs and milk) is set.
  6. Remove from oven, top with white chocolate (if using). Cool on wire rack at least ten minutes before eating. Caution:  HOT!
The Solo Cook's Notes: 
For a more gingery pudding, add 1/2 teaspoon minced candied ginger to one layer of the pudding.  Store thoroughly-cooled leftovers well-wrapped in the refrigerator up to two days.  Lovely leftover and cold for breakfast.

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

My yard now...the trees are lilacs, pruned and grown tall over a hundred years.

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