Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pandoro Bread Pudding

I think bread pudding served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is probably my favourite comfort food. And yet until the last couple of years bread pudding was not something I ever had and now I feel that I may have missed out all those years. As a matter of fact the thought of a pudding made with bread really didn't do much for me but over the years I became curious about this concoction that I would hear others rave about so I thought that I would like to at least give it a try. I came across a recipe for Panettone Bread Pudding in the food section of the Globe and Mail newspaper a couple of years ago by Lucy Waverman, cookbook author, food writer for the Globe and Mail and cook extraordinaire who lives here in Toronto. Mmm I thought, panettone was right up my alley, being raised in an Italian family and having an uncle who owned an Italian bakery in Little Italy, who made panettone regularly, not just for Christmas, I was practically weened on it.

I was quite excited to try this recipe, after all panettone, studded with plump sweet raisins, and candied peel and flavoured with lemon peel and vanilla, is no regular bread. So using panettone and all these flavours that I was familiar with, instead of plain bread, suddenly made this sweet dish sound more appealing to me.

Putting it all together is simple enough. Panettone is cut into cubes and put into a large bowl, eggs are beaten with the cream and milk, salt and vanilla are added and poured over the bread and mixed until moistened. This is poured into a buttered baking dish and baked in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. In the oven it puffs up and the wonderful sweet scent fills the kitchen.

I can still remember when I first tasted this incredible bread pudding, I knew I was hooked for good. In the article Lucy Waverman described this as the best version she had made over the years and all I can say thank you for this wonderful recipe. I may have missed out all those years but now I can make up for it by making it whenever I can get my hands on panettone.

For this version I adapted her recipe but substituted Pandoro for the Panettone and added about half a cup of sultana and golden raisins. I can honestly say it is just as good.

Nowadays it seems you can only get panettone and pandoro at Christmas time so I buy a few boxes and since it has a long best before date I store them in my cold cellar just for making bread pudding.

Submitted to YeastSpotting.

Panettone Bread Pudding

Serve with softly whipped cream and marinated fruit salad.

1 panettone
6 eggs
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups milk
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Cut panettone into 2-inch cubes and remove dark brown crusts. You will need about 10 cups. Place in a large bowl.

Whisk together eggs, whipping cream, milk, sugar and vanilla.

Pour over panettone and toss to coat. Transfer panettone and custard to prepared baking dish, squishing the pieces around to absorb custard and to fill pan in an even layer.

Set aside for at least 45 minutes or wrap well and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Bake bread pudding for 35 to 40 minutes or until deep golden brown and puffed.

Cut into pieces and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6 with leftovers.

Pandoro Bread Pudding

6 eggs
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups milk
2/3 of a Pandoro
½ cup of a mixture of sultana raisins and golden raisins.
1/3 to ½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Proceed as above.

When I made this I only used about 2/3 of the Pandoro because it was quite large. If you have a large crowd and want to use the entire pandoro you can increase the recipe by 1/3 to 1/2 and it should still work out.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pecan & Molasses Scones with Vanilla Glaze

It's kind of funny how I have come across three different scone recipes in the last few weeks and all from different sources. It's not like they are seasonal, like say strawberry shortcake in June, where you would expect a deluge of recipes for the dessert. Nor did I seek these recipes. The first, Dried Cranberry Scones, was featured in the food section of the National Post, the second, Scones Two Ways, was posted on Marie Wolf's blog Breadbasketcase that I follow, and the third, Pecan & Molasses Scones with Vanilla Glaze was in the new Food & Drink, a free magazine put out by our LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario).

I made all of them slightly altering them one way or another to suit my taste but keeping the body of the recipe intact. For the Dried Cranberry Scones I followed the recipe almost exactly except that I added grated orange peel. I was very happy with how they turned out, until I tried the Cream Scones (Scones Two Ways) using cranberries and orange peel instead of dried apricots or nuts as Marie did. Also instead of using a food processor I made these the conventional way in a bowl. They were far better than the first I made and I think the whipping cream in this recipe, instead of milk used in the last recipe made all the difference. When I saw the photo for the Pecan & Molasses Scones in Food & Drink and seeing as I was in a scone making phase how could I but not make these. By now I had made scones using milk and scones using cream and I was confident that substituting some of the milk with the cream in this recipe would only enhance the flavour and produce a lighter textured scone.
Dried Cranberry Scones - National Post
Cream Scones with Cranberries and Grated Orange Peel (Scones Two Ways - Breadbasketcase)

The method is the same for all of them; cut butter into flour, baking powder and salt mixture, add nuts or dried fruit and bind together with cream and flavourings. Once you gather the mass into a ball, flatten into a circle and cut into wedges but this particular recipe instructs to divide the dough into two and form each into a circle, folding in half, then in half again and finally patting the dough into a circle and cutting into six wedges.

So I carried my altering tendency to the instructions as well and instead formed the entire dough into a rectangle instead of two circles, folding it in half, then in half again and finally patting the dough into a rectangle again about 9 by 6 inches and a scant inch thick.

Then I cut the dough into six equal pieces forming squares and then
cut each square on the diagonal to form twelve wedges. These are then transferred onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Into a 425 degree oven they go and about 12 to 14 minutes later they have risen by almost double.

While they are warm they are topped with a spoonful of vanilla glaze and sprinkled with chopped pecans. The texture was light and flaky so I was glad I used the cream, and the molasses and pecans are a nice combination. At first I thought I might skip the glaze so as to not add more sugar but in the end I decided to stay true to the recipe and I was glad I did because the glaze added some sweetness to these scones that are not overly sweet. Besides they did look nice with the glaze melting over the tops and sides.
These were very good and I would certainly recommend them. I especially liked the folding method which I think helps the scones rise so high. But I have to admit that my all time favourite flavour for scones is a combination of cranberries and orange. All I need now is to find a place near by that sells clotted cream so that I can slather my scones with a generous dollop.

Pecan & Molasses Scones with Vanilla Glaze

by Marilyn Bentz-Crowley


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. fancy molasses
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped


1/2 cup icing sugar
1 to 2 tbsp. cream, preferably whipping
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir flour with sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Coarsely grate or cut in butter; toss to coat with flour. Make a well.

3. Measure milk; add molasses. Stir to dissolve molasses. Add milk mixture and pecans to flour mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula just until dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface.

4. Divide into half. Lightly sprinkle each half with a bit of additional flour. Pat each half into a round about 1 inch thick. fold each in half and then into quarters. Again pat each mound of dough into a round a scant inch thick. Cut each round into 6 wedges. Place on a lined baking sheet at least 1 inch apart.

5. Bake in centre of oven for 11 to 14 minutes or until firm to touch and lightly browned. (If making ahead for freezing or for another day, cool completely before storing in airtight container. Warm in a moderate oven for 5 minutes before glazing.)

6. Meanwhile stir icing sugar with 1 tbsp. of cream and vanilla. Stir in remaining cream as needed to have a thick almost pourable glaze. Transfer hot scones to a cooling rack. Immediately coat tops with glaze and sprinkle with finely chopped pecans. Serve warm.
Makes 12

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Reine de Saba - Just the Recipe

I made this delicious cake last year for Valentine's Day but I didn't post the recipe so here it for this Valentine.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Reine de Saba
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

For the cake:

4 ounces or squares semisweet chocolate melted with 2 Tbsp. rum or coffee

1/4 lb. or 1 stick softened butter

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

3 egg whites

Pinch of salt

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

2/3 cup pulverized almonds

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1/2 cup cake flour (scooped and leveled) turned into a sifter

For the Icing:

2 ounces (2 squares) semisweet baking chocolate

2 Tbsp. rum or coffee

5 to 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Butter and flour the cake pan. Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with the recipe. Measure out the rest of the ingredients. Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.

With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.

Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2-1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily.
Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on the rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.
For the Icing:

Place the chocolate and rum or coffee in the small pan, cover, and set in the larger pan of almost simmering water. Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth. Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency. At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife, and press a design of almonds over the icing.

Yield: For an 8-inch cake serving 6 to 8 people

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Navarin of Osso Bucco - Just the Recipe

I am introducing a new feature on my blog called Just the Recipe where I’ll post, from time to time, a recipe that I’ve made. I won’t write anything about it, I’ll let the photos do all the talking. It will provide for me a log of what I’ve been cooking and a forum for you for comments. Who knows, you might find just the recipe you’re looking for.

Navarin of Osso Bucco

1 sprig thyme
3 sprigs parsley
1 sprig basil leaves
3 bay leaves
2-2 inch strips lemon peel
6 – 5 oz osso bucco
all-purpose flour for dredging
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup vegetable oil
1 large onion
1½ tbsp. all-purpose flour
1½ cups dry white wine
3 cups beef stock
2 cups canned Roma tomatoes with juice, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced

Prepare the bouquet garni: tie together thyme, parsley, basil and bay leaves with strips of lemon peel.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat oil. Dredge osso bucco in flour, salt and pepper. Brown osso bucco in hot oil on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.

Skim oil from skillet, leaving 1 tbsp. oil. Lightly sauté onion. Add flour and cook for a few minutes.

Add wine, stock, tomatoes, bouquet garni and garlic. Bring to a boil. Submerge osso bucco in skillet. I transferred the mixture into a large roasting pan to finish off in the oven.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until very tender. From time to time baste the meat to keep moist. This can be done on the stove top or in a 350 F. oven. Remove meat to serving platter and keep hot. Skim off fat and reduce the liquid to intensify flavours.

Serve with small penne rigatte or any small pasta of choice flavoured with garlic infused olive oil, or polenta.