Friday, December 25, 2015

I Have a Little List - Christmas Eve Bread Pudding

Thursday - Tonight I am making shrimp scampi for dinner to celebrate Christmas Eve.  These last weeks I've been doing a fair amount of cooking and baking, breaking up the projects across days. It may not bother you, but it is surely bothering me that I cannot get them all typed into the blog to publish with the not-so-daily posts.

Potato Latkes
Perline Pasta with a Dry Sauce
Key Lime Sugar Cookie Cups
Christmas Fruitcake Cookies
Rice Pudding
Italian Meatloaf with Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Chips

Geez, I feel like I'm back at the office with a stack of staffing forms to catch up. Not a great feeling. I blame it on fibromyalgia and the BBC.

The scampi recipe will have to wait in the queue along with the others, but here is a wonderful bread pudding recipe I developed by improving on another one of my recipes from severl years back. In my opinion, the bread pudding just keeps getting better.

Christmas Eve Bread Pudding

2 loaves Pepperidge Farm French Toast Swirl Bread
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1-15 oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese
2 sticks butter, melted, divided
1-14 oz. can coconut milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-15 oz. can Very Cherry Fruit Cocktail, drained
1-15.25 oz. can peach chunks, drained
1-6 oz. bottle maraschino cherries, drained
1 cup cherry-infused dried cranberries
1-18 oz. jar Smucker's Cherry Preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread into smaller pieces; eighths work well. Divide bread into two aluminum pans, then place in oven for up to 10 minutes, just to dry out. Set aside.

Pour about 1/4 cup of the melted butter into a large deep casserole dish - I found a 10 x 10 x 3 1/2 inch aluminum pan for this, or the standard 9 x 13 x 2 works as well - and spread it to cover all surfaces of the pan.

In a deep mixing bowl, add the sugar to the eggs and beat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ricotta and beat again to combine. Now add the remaining melted butter, coconut milk, extracts and nutmeg and beat until combined. Pour this over the bread cubes, stir gently so all the cubes are covered iin liquid, and set aside until the bread is well soaked.

In the buttered casserole dish, layer the soaked bread with the drained canned fruit, drained whole maraschino cherries, and the dried fruit. Repeat until all ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of bread, then pour any remaining liquid over the top.

Bake for 40 minutes, then remove from the oven and carefully spoon the cherry preserves over the top. Return to the oven for another 20-30 minutes, until the center is set, and the internal temperature is at least 140 degrees (the edges will register higher.) Remove from the oven and let cool a bit. This is best eaten warm or room temperature ...

... with whipped cream or ice cream or both, because anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Merry Christmas!

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