Saturday, November 28, 2009

Delia Smith's Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding

Okay, it's not that I am not cooking or eating, I just haven't had time with the little one to then take pictures and write about it. Basically I end up making food as fast as possible and then either relish the few second I have to eat with both hands free or I end up eating while holding her or feeding her. This was actually made the weekend before I had the baby, back when I still had time to photograph things not baby related. It is delicious though. It's not just kind of delicious, it is amazingly delicious if you like dark chocolate. It's like a mix between the perfect gooey brownie and a chocolate lava cake.

I've never made bread pudding before, it just isn't the first thing that comes to mind for me when I think about dessert. My husband picked it out though when I told him that he had to pick a cake for me to make for him for his birthday. It was a big hit all around, I can't wait until I have an occasion to make it again so I can show off. I also like that you make it a day ahead, and then just pop it in the oven when the time comes.

Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding:

9 slices, each ¼ inch (5 mm) thick, good-quality white bread, 1 day old, taken from a large loaf
5 oz (150 g) dark chocolate (75 per cent cocoa solids)
3 oz (75 g) butter
15 fl oz (425 ml) whipping cream
4 tablespoons dark rum (I used Kahlua instead)
4 oz (110 g) caster sugar
good pinch cinnamon
3 large eggs

Begin by removing the crusts from the slices of bread, which should leave you with 9 pieces about 4 inches (10 cm) square. So now cut each slice into 4 triangles. Next, place the chocolate, whipping cream, rum, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, being careful not to let the bowl touch the water, then wait until the butter and chocolate have melted and the sugar has completely dissolved. Next, remove the bowl from the heat and give it a really good stir to amalgamate all the ingredients.

Now in a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then pour the chocolate mixture over them and whisk again very thoroughly to blend them together.

Then spoon about a ½ inch (1 cm) layer of the chocolate mixture into the base of the dish and arrange half the bread triangles over the chocolate in overlapping rows. Now, pour half the remaining chocolate mixture all over the bread as evenly as possible, then arrange the rest of the triangles over that, finishing off with a layer of chocolate. Use a fork to press the bread gently down so that it gets covered very evenly with the liquid as it cools.

Cover the dish with clingfilm and allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours before transferring it to the fridge for a minimum of 24 (but preferably 48) hours before cooking. When you're ready to cook the pudding, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C). Remove the clingfilm and bake in the oven on a high shelf for 30-35 minutes, by which time the top will be crunchy and the inside soft and squidgy. Leave it to stand for 10 minutes before serving with well-chilled double cream poured over.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Kitchen Tip

I'm sneaking in just before midnight with a tip. Traditional Oven is one of the most useful baking sites I've ever used, as it provides conversions for specific ingredients like butter, sugar, and flour. The butter converter gets the most use from me - for example, it's a lot easier to weigh 85g of butter than to try to get 6 tablespoons while it's still chilled for scones.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bonfire Night!

Wanting a trip to England in November may sound strange, but I love Bonfire Night so much that I would go every year if I could. It combines some of my favourite things: fireworks, food, and history. I'm linking back to an old post for this - while they may not seem like it, these little roast potatoes are the ultimate finger food. Just pop them in a little paper bag or newspaper cone and they are a great snack on a cold night.



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Baby not Food

I just wanted to share with everyone my reason for not posting forever! We welcomed a new addition to our family. Once I am able to sleep a bit more through the night I hope to be back to posting like usual - but will probably be doing recipes that are a lot faster :-)


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Vegetables Galore

Just before the first snowfall, we pulled up the last of the garden (except for a few hibernating potatoes). This was my share of the harvest, and I spent a weekend preparing everything for storage and freezing. Most of the leeks and zucchini were put in the food processor and frozen for soups and baking, and the carrots were chopped, blanched, and frozen. Now I can look forward to garden veg all through the winter!


Monday, November 2, 2009

English Apple Cake

With my bags of apples from Superstore I needed some simple recipes. Attempting to bake in the midst of messy home renos was trying, to say the least. Luckily, Nigel Slater did not fail me; I often find his simple, thrown-together meals are the tastiest.

I've now made this three times as it is so quick & easy. The apples don't need to be peeled, just cored & roughly chopped, and while it needs an hour of baking time it only takes 10 minutes of prep. It also adapts well to changes, which is not always true of baking. I changed the pan from an 8" square to an 8" round as that was what I had unpacked, and switched lemon juice for lime juice (which I now prefer).

Nigel Slater's English Apple Cake:
130g butter
130g sugar
3-4 medium apples
juice of half a lemon or lime
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs
130g flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line an 8" round springform pan by just pushing parchment paper inside so it comes up the sides of the pans. It doesn't matter if this isn't pretty, as this cake is pretty rustic anyway. There is no need to grease the pan, making for easier clean-up as well.

Core and chop the apples and put in a bowl with the lemon or lime juice. Toss with cinnamon & brown sugar and set aside while you cream the butter & sugar well, then beat in the eggs. Sift the flour and baking powder together and fold into the mixture. Scrape the batter into the pan and dump the apples on top with a little extra sugar. Bake 1 hour. You may be unsure about done-ness as it's difficult to tell with all the apples on top, but each time I've made this 1 hour has been perfect.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spiced Applesauce

We're back! After a month-long hiatus (and some pretty sporadic posting in September), I am hoping to get back into the swing of things by participating in National Blog Posting Month. We were pretty busy in October - me with home renovations and Court with her new baby girl - and with the holiday season coming up things will probably stay that way. Hopefully we'll be up for the challenge.

Discovering orchard bins of apples at Superstore has meant a glut of baking for me recently. Who can resist apples at $0.54/lb? They're a little banged up, but perfect for cakes, pies, and (obviously) apple sauce. I tweaked this a bit by using Lyle's Golden Syrup (which I could eat by the spoon) instead of sugar and cardamom instead of cinnamon. This was warm, fragrant, and delicious... and perfect for autumn.

4 apples, peeled/cored/chopped
3/4 cup water
2-3 tbsp Lyle's golden syrup
cardamom, to taste

Add apples and water to a saucepan over medium heat and cook until soft. Bash up with a spoon over the heat and add the syrup and cardamom, both to taste.