So, the idea for this week’s SMS was to make pumpkin bread pudding, selected by the lovely Carmen of Baking is my Zen. It sounded like a really lovely, lightly spicy and creamy dessert. There was a delicious-looking sauce. The pictures people put up early looked lovely. I got ready to bake today and realized: You know what’s hard to find in May?
So hard, in fact, that I looked through the fruit, vegetable, and baking aisles at WM three times before I gave up and regrouped. After some hemming and hawing and looking through both pantry and cookbooks, I decided on chocolate bread pudding with chocolate chips and dried cherries.
It all got off to an inauspicious start at WF, where they did not have brioche at all. (This is central Virginia, after all, not Paris.) I settled for a big loaf of challah, which I reckoned would be a nice substitute, what with the egginess and butteriness.
(Yes, the wise woman would have bought the pumpkin while she was at WF. I am clearly not that woman.)
Also, the cinnamon sticks were a bit spendy, especially considering I have enough ground cinnamon to last until I’m fifty. Ditto whole cloves. And vanilla beans. So when the canned pumpkin just did not show up, I took it as a sign.
What I ended up doing was following the approximate portions provided in How to Cook Everything (Bittman) with some of the techniques in the Sweet Melissa Baking Book. I toasted about 8 ounces of challah cubes.
Then I cooked together a mixture of milk and cream totaling three cups with a bit of butter the size of a walnut and two ounces of bittersweet chocolate. After the chocolate melted I set it aside to cool for a bit before whisking it into three beaten eggs.
I layered the bread cubes in a dish with a handful of chocolate chips and a handful of dried cherries. (I put a layer of bread on top of this too.)
Then I strained the chocolate custard into the dish and left it to soak while I did the dishes.
It went into a water bath, then the oven for about 45 minutes.
It was good! I think the dried cherries really made it. Bread pudding is never going to look like much (as John helpfully observed), which is probably why it's usually served with a sauce of some kind. Oh yeah, I didn't do the sauce either.
SO! Basically I just made whatever I darn well pleased and called it a SMS entry. I probably wouldn't have made bread pudding unprompted, though, so that's got to count for something, right?