The theme that Zorra chose this month is Puddings. This includes an extremely broad category of foods. Depending upon where you live, the definition a pudding is wildly diverse. Puddings can be baked, steamed or boiled. The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink defines pudding as follows:
So, you see, the possibilities here are endless!
For my SHF entry, I chose to make Panettone Bread Pudding with raisins and and a Scottish Cream custard sauce. For those who don't know, panettone is is a typical sweet, cake-like bread, probably originating in Milan, and usually prepared and enjoyed during the Christmas season all around Italy. The dough is an acidic one, similar to sourdough. It is cured for a long time and then proofed for several days. This proofing process gives the cake its distinctive fluffy characteristics. Traditionally, it usually contains candied orange peel or lemon zest, as well as raisins. Many other variations are available also, such as panettone with chocolate chunks. I purchased my panettone at an Italian specialty store, but I have seen it at my local supermarket as well.
I also added extra raisins to this dish, because, well....I really like raisins. I have also added other dried fruits to this, such as cherries and apricots.
The preparation of this dish is very simple. First, you need to chop the bread into chunks. Then, mix up a custard base using milk, cream, eggs and sugar. Pour the custard over the panettone and bake it. What you top it with after that is up to you. You can make a sauce like I did, or you can use maple syrup or fruit preserves. I have served this with both ice cream and sweetened mascarpone as well. If you have the time, I urge you to try the custard sauce. It really is good and it is the traditional way to serve this pudding. This dish would make a lovely and delicious addition to any Holiday table!
Panettone Bread Pudding with Scottish Cream Custard Sauce
To make the sauce:
- Bring the cream, milk, and sugar to a boil in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. In a small bowl, mix the liqueur and cornstarch to blend and then whisk into the cream mixture. Simmer over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Set aside and keep warm. (The amaretto sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before serving.)
- Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange the bread cubes in the prepared dish. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar to blend. Pour the custard over the bread cubes, and press the bread cubes gently to submerge. Let stand for 30 minutes, occasionally pressing the bread cubes into the custard mixture. .
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. .
- Bake until the pudding puffs and is set in the center, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly. .
- Spoon the bread pudding into bowls, drizzle with the warm custard sauce, and serve.