As someone who loves a good meal, cooking one, came to me as a natural passion. I belong to a family where meal times consisted of not just food, but also noisy conversation centered around the events of the day and discussing the menu for the next. (ah yes, we are a greedy lot! )

For the most part of my life so far, my contribution in the kitchen was assisting mom and my duties were limited, to chopping veggies and laying the table. Then along came the great Indian wedding, and I was suddenly the queen of my very own kingdom. My curiosity about this magical world, coupled with an enthusiastic sous-chef (my husband, Vineet), led me to take on the challenge of preparing meals on a daily basis, and not succumbing to the convenience of hiring a cook.

This blog is a product of my experiments with food (not all are life threatening :D) for my fellow culinary enthusiasts - especially the newly weds and hungry bachelors and is dedicated to the women who've inspired me in the kitchen;
Aji (s),Ma and Nigella Lawson.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bread pudding with salted- sugared Pecans

I'm pretty certain that most most of you who are reading this, have often had, a few slices of bread ( or sometimes even half a loaf) going stale in your refrigerator. Na na... nothing to feel embarrassed about, i do too... I usually air-dry stale bread over a few days and make bread-crumbs, my go-to ingredient for instantly adding 'body' to soups and gravies.

But... I was in the mood for something sweet yesterday, and I figured that eggs, milk and bread (pretty standard breakfast ingredients) would make a quick unassuming, comforting, no-fuss bread pudding...
For this recipe I used honey as a sweetener since I'm consciously trying to avoid refined sugar in my recent baking endeavours...Also, I created a salty-sweet nutty crust, with pecans, salt and a pinch of brown sugar... tasted absolutely yum!

- 7-8 slices stale Bread 
- 1/2 cup Raisins
- 1/4 cup Brandy / dark Rum
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Honey
- 1-1/4 cups Pecans
- 1 tsp cold Butter
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp brown Sugar

1.) Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Soak the raisins in the brandy or the rum. Cut the bread slices into 1/2" cubes.Tumble them into a non-stick baking dish.

2.) Whisk the eggs till they're light and frothy. Add the milk, vanilla, honey and a few tablespoons of the brandy from the raisins. Whisk all the liquid ingredients together.

3.) Add the raisins to the bread cubes. Toss with your fingers to mix gently. Pour the egg-milk mix over the bread cubes. Let the bread soak in the mix for about 10 minutes.

4.) Meanwhile, roughly chop the Pecans and transfer to a bowl. Add the cold butter and with your fingers rub the butter onto the pecans. Add the salt and brown sugar to the pecans and using your fingers coat the pecans nicely.

5.) Spread the salted-sugared Pecans over the soaking bread mixture. Bake @ 180 deg C for about 35-40 minutes.

Serve hot/ cold with fresh berries / cream or topping of your choice. I like this better made with brown bread instead of white. Also, if you have trouble finding Pecans, Walnuts will work just as well... Go on... make this NOW! :)

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