In my attempt to keep up with the bounty of strawberries and rhubarb in my garden, I revisited a recipe I've had for 35 years... Did I just write 35 years? That's almost impossible to believe. But it's been even longer that I've been clipping, writing down, bookmarking, copying, and tearing out recipes and filing them away -- into BIG files. And maybe that's why this recipe for bread pudding with strawberry-rhubarb sauce has gotten overlooked the past few years. Six years, to be exact, since I last made this recipe. But thanks to the abundance of strawberries (some days yielding 5 pounds) and my endless supply of rhubarb (good thing I like it so much), my attack plan has been to default to a super easy strawberry-rhubarb sauce. And that reminded me of this simple bread pudding. When served warm, or at room temperature with the chilled sauce, it is heaven.
I have so many strawberries, I added some to the top of the bread pudding before baking. A sweet little addition.
And don't limit the strawberry-rhubarb sauce just to bread pudding... cornmeal waffles, vanilla ice cream, french toast, and yogurt all benefit from a serving of this sauce, just to name a few...
Country Living Magazine | 1982
• 12 to 14 slices from a French Baguette, 1/2-inch thick
• 3 to 4 tablespoons soft butter
• 3 large eggs
• 2 cups whole milk, or half milk-half cream
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• Pinch of sea salt
• Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce, recipe follows
1. Heat oven to 350˚F. Butter a 10-inch round or other shallow 2 quart baking dish. Butter each slice of bread on one side and arrange, buttered side down, in the dish with sides of the bread touching or overlapping slightly.
2. Beat together the eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and salt until well-blended. Pour over the bread slices. Allow the bread to soak up the custard for about 10 minutes.
3. Bake on the shelf just above the center of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly puffed and crusty. Serve hot or warm with the Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce.
• 3 1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, 1-inch pieces
• 1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced in half (quartered if large)
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon finely grated organic orange peel
1. In a medium-sized enameled saucepan, combine all the ingredients and let stand 10 minutes. Stir again, cover, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Increase heat and bring to a gentle boil, uncovered, over moderate heat. Cook until rhubarb is tender, but not mushy.
TAKE a LOOK:
A scone in the morning along with coffee or tea is always good -- at least that's the way we feel at our house. This is a basic currant scone that can be dressed up, and made even better, with crème fraîche and a fruit jam.
The only change I made to the original recipe was to place the scones, on their baking sheet, in the freezer for 45 minutes before transferring to the oven . That step helps maintain the shape of the scones while baking. Also, I sprinkled turbinado sugar over the scones after brushing with the light cream (Half & Half). I like the crunch and a little added sweetness.
RECIPE by SUSIE TOMPKINS BUELL, adapted
• 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 1/2 cup dried currants
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1/2 cup milk
• Light cream or heavy cream, for brushing
• Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse two or three times. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (Or... you can mix the ingredients together in a large bowl and cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives.) Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the currants. Add the egg and 1/2 cup milk and stir with a fork just until the dough comes together.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently pat the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick slab. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 12 rounds, repatting the dough as needed.
4. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
5. Remove the scones from the freezer and brush the tops with the cream. Sprinkle with Turbinado sugar. Bake the scones for 15-17 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. MAKES 12 SCONES.
TAKE a LOOK:
A friend just returned from California and brought me back a carton of dates. On a snowy, January day, I think that calls for a date quick bread with nuts.
... and, for hot chocolate!
(adapted) from Modern Classics 2 | Donna Hay
• 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for the pan
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 2/3 cup superfine sugar (I put my organic cane sugar in food processor for several seconds)
• 1 cup roughly chopped pitted dates
• 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecan nuts
• 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, plus additional for the pan
• 1/4 cup milk
• 2 eggs, slightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Rub butter generously over the entire inside surface of the baking pan. Dust with flour, shaking out excess.
2. Sift flour and bakiing powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar, dates and pecans; mix to combine. Set aside.
3. Place the butter and milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook until just melted. Add to the flour mixture with the eggs and stir until combined. Spoon the mixture into a greased 4-inch x 8-inch loaf pan (I used a 2 3/4-inch x 9 1/2-inch pan).
4. Place the loaf pan on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf tests done.
5. Transfer the loaf pan to a cooling rack. When cooled, run a sharp knife around the edges and invert date loaf onto a plate or cutting board. Serve with salted butter.
TAKE a LOOK:
After a week of warmth and days spent in the garden, I welcomed the recent rain and cooler temperatures. Sweet peas, various lettuces, French Breakfast radishes, and dill + cilantro seeds have been planted. The remaining seeds will go into the ground this weekend.
When warm weather arrives and I start planting the vegetable garden, everything in the house seems to be ignored. Meals are many times an after thought, I'm sad to say. But the rain has allowed me a few days in my kitchen and I made two of my favorites that we haven't eaten in a long while... Black Bean Pumpkin Soup + Roasted Potato and Onion Focaccia.
My desire to be indoors has been short lived, however, and I'm now hoping for sustained warmth so I am able to plant the entire vegetable garden. I will also take some photos soon of the potager and its progress so far this spring. I know this for certain... my eight rhubarb plants are already ridiculously huge. It was my foolish goal last summer to keep them under control, but no matter how hard I tried or how much rhubarb syrup, tarts, pies, breads, muffins, cakes, slush or chutney I mixed up in my kitchen, it was useless. I failed miserably. I expect to see many containers of rhubarb in the freezer this coming winter. In addition, I may be forced to set up a rhubarb stand on the corner of Pinehurst and Davern, like I threaten every year.
The Black Bean Pumpkin Soup includes dry sherry and ham in its ingredients.