I loved the Mitch Albom book “Five People You Meet In Heaven” and I think this concept also applies to earthly friends. You basically have certain kinds of friends that you seek out throughout your life. You have the empathetic friends, in my case Mary and Marijane. You have the adventurous friends like Lisa, Elizabeth or Lisha – ready to hit the road for a new experience at any time. You have your art and pop culture buddies like Ron or Dietz – cause not everybody cares that the mother of actor Colin Firth’s oldest child is Meg Tilly. And, there are the beloved foodie friends like Lindy and Vicki.
Vicki Stout writes “About Town,” a terrific weekly column in the Williamson County edition of our city’s newspaper, The Tennessean. A long-time lover of writing and food, she does a great job of merging these passions into unique stories about area foodies. After several discussions throughout the year, we finally came together for a highlight of our annual Christmas party. Check it out at the link below: http://www.tennessean.com/article/20101226/WILLIAMSON03/12260317/Scottish-Irish-feast-is-gift-to-friends-family
There are traditional recipes that have to show up at this party every year or guests respond with inquisitive horror. Fast becoming one of those traditions is our bread pudding recipe which I like to serve hot out of the oven about two hours after the dinner buffet. I never liked bread pudding growing up and thought it was a weird concoction. Dating back centuries, cultures from Romans to Egyptians used the recipe as a way of not wasting stale bread. Today, a common culinary delight of the United Kingdom, my upstate NY husband with Irish roots introduced this rich dessert to our home for very special occasions.
I’ll definitely cite the original sources for recipes when possible. However, a whole bunch of my favorite recipes have been scribble on the back of envelopes or scrap paper without noting the source and I bet yours are too. In response to blog reader Mary Sue Diamond, here’s that bread pudding recipe. This recipe lends itself well to a party because it is even better after sitting in the fridge congealing overnight and cooked the day of the gathering.
Chocolate, Cinnamon-Rum Sauce Bread Pudding
Ingredients: Challah bread loaf (Publix makes upon request) cut into bite size cubes; 10 T unsalted butter, melted – separate out 2 ounces; 1 C semisweet chocolate chips; 2 ½ C of half and half; 1 C sugar; 6 large eggs; 4 large egg yolks; 2 T vanilla (I prefer Mexican); 1/8 Tsp Salt; 2 T packed dark brown sugar.
Bread Pudding: Butter 9×13 glass baking dish. In large bowl, combine bread w/ 8 T of butter – toss to coat. Toss/combine chocolate chips. In separate bowl, whisk half and half, 1 C sugar, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and salt. Pour over bread cubes. Let stand 30 min occasionally re-submerging bread in pudding. Drizzle remaining 2 T of butter, sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour. You want it puffy, brown and firm. Be sure you don’t put too close to the top rack or it will scorch. Drizzle warm cinnamon-rum sauce and vanilla ice cream if you prefer.
Cinnamon Rum Sauce
Ingredients: 1 C of unsalted butter; 1 C packed, dark brown sugar; 1 tsp ground cinnamon; ¼ tsp salt; ¼ C dark rum; 1 T vanilla.
Sauce: Melt butter in sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and whisk in sugar until dissolved. Bring to bubbling, smooth mixture – about 5 minutes. Remove and whisk in dark rum and vanilla. (This can be made ahead of time and then microwave for use.)