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June 20, 2010

Father's Day Figgy Bread Pudding

My dad is one of those guys who never needs anything. If he wants something, he goes out and gets it for himself. Often he simply goes without, as whatever it is is not actually a "need." That makes him a candidate for the Hardest To Buy Gifts For award. So I was thrilled to find a great Father's Day present for my wonderful dad this year: he loves bread pudding, and I found a cookbook with sixty recipes for just that! I presented him with his gift a little early this year, so he could pick out one recipe that I could make for him on his day. I couldn't have found anything that fit him better.

The recipe my dad chose was a Figgy Bread Pudding with Brandy Hard Sauce.

New-Fangled, Old Fashioned Bread Puddings was written by Linda Hegeman & Barbara Hayford. It's not as outdated as I had expected, being copyright in 1994.

While this bread pudding was not a complicated recipe for a beginner cook, there was a lot of prep work to be done. All in all, it probably took me about four hours including cooking time--a major feat, for me.

For Figgy Pudding: Toast the bread loaf to make it stale. I put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about seven minutes, at the same time as I toasted the nuts.

Chop and toast 3/4 c. walnuts by putting in a 350 degree oven for seven minutes.

Choose a 2 1/2 quart dish and butter it.

Chop approx. 8 oz. figs. The recipe calls for Mission figs, but I used the Turkish figs I had on hand from a Trader Joe's splurge for car snacks on the drive to my folks' house.

Cut the bread into 1 inch strips and butter both sides with approx 12 Tablespoons melted butter. Layer bottom layer of baking dish, reserving rest for upper layers.

Simmer figs with 1 1/3 cups milk & 1 1/3 cups heavy cream. Over medium heat, bring mixture almost to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes.

Beat 3 large eggs, 3 large egg yolks, and 2/3 cup packed brown sugar until smooth.

Combine fig/cream mixture into eggs. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/3 cup brandy. Beat until well mixed.

Layer buttered bread, custard mixture, and walnuts into baking dish.

I used two layers in the dish.

Cover with plastic wrap and press down with your hands or back of a spoon so that the bread absorbs the liquid. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Set baking dish in a water bath in a larger ovenproof pan. Remove plastic wrap and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until custard is set (knife inserted 1 inch from center comes out clean), pudding is puffed, and top is browned. Serve warm with Brandy Hard Sauce, 2 Tablespoons per each serving.

For Brandy Hard Sauce: On medium speed, beat 12 Tablespoons softened butter until light and fluffy.

Reduce mixer speed to medium low. Gradually add 2 1/4 cups powdered confectioners' sugar, 3 Tablespoons brandy, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, beating until creamy. Refrigerate sauce until ready to use. Serve at room temperature.

Per the recipe, the Fig Pudding yields 10, and the Brandy Hard Sauce yields a scant 1 1/2 cups.

We all enjoyed the dessert--my dad especially. But the brandy sauce had the consistency of icing and tasted of pure sugar. We found it a little overwhelming to the dish. My dad liked just a bit of the sauce, but I prefer to go without. The dish as a whole is definitely one that improves on the second round. The fig flavor really came out in the leftovers.

Would this be the dessert of your dreams? What is it that you request on special occasions? Please leave me a comment on the blog if you try out this recipe.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - this looks AMAZING. And I shouldn't be surprised that you have a cookbook just for bread puddings. So cool! Hmmm the dessert of my dreams.... probably would have fresh cherries and ice cream in it. I have to think some more about that one.


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