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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Warm comfort in bread pudding

By Joan Obra


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Bread pudding: Those words, uttered in the middle of winter, are the culinary equivalent of snuggling in a blanket. For when it's cold outside, this mix of sweetness and carbs, often spiked with liqueur and topped with caramel sauce, settles comfortingly in the belly.

But only if it's done right. When it's done wrong, the texture is too mushy, or the accompanying sauce irritatingly sweet.

Getting the right consistency depends on a lot more than strictly following a recipe -- it's about having the right texture in the bread.

That's what Vatche Moukhtarian of the Cracked Pepper Bistro in Fresno, Calif., tells customers when they try to make his bread pudding. For the best results, cooks must judge the texture of the day-old dinner rolls, croissants and cheese Danishes used to make it.

"If the bread is too dry or the croissant is too stale, you have to adjust the amount of custard," he says. Unfortunately, it takes practice to know whether your bread is the right texture.

Moukhtarian breaks apart a dinner roll to demonstrate. It should be dry just to the point where it's a little crumbly, he says. Croissants won't dry out as much. Neither will the Danishes.

He layers them before adding the custard, so the bread pudding won't require as much mixing.

Moukhtarian gently folds the pudding to avoid turning the bread to mush. He'll refrigerate the mixture, then pull out mounds of it to bake individual bread puddings.

After a few tries, "it's easy for anyone to do at home," he says.

Other chefs use different breads. Tim Woods, owner and chef of the old Echo Restaurant, favored brioche. He says he fashioned "too many versions" during the restaurant's decade-long run. Popular ones included the bitter almond, orange and white chocolate, and hazelnut and chocolate.

For the best results at home, choose brioche that is "just dry to the touch," says Woods, now a food-service consultant. And take your time. The pudding will taste best if it sits overnight before baking, he says.

Yet another take on this dessert comes from Paul Palomino of Palomino's in the Tower District. His bread pudding, made with baguettes, is closer to French toast than bread pudding. Studded with raisins and topped with candied almonds, it has subtle hints of Mexican brown sugar (piloncillo) and Mexican cinnamon (canela).

(At home, you can use regular brown sugar and cinnamon for equally delicious results.)

This is Palomino's standard bread pudding. When he's feeling decadent, he'll add marshmallows and bittersweet chocolate to evoke s'mores. Or he'll add fruit, such as the one with Black Mission figs he did for last year's Fig Fest, a Fresno-area festival devoted to figs. Whatever the version, customers won't let him take the bread pudding off the menu - even when it's warm outside.

Palomino shrugs. "This is a bread town," he says.




BREAD PUDDING

Makes about 8 servings

For the bread pudding:


  • 2-2 1/2 day-old baguettes

  • Raisins, to taste

  • 4 cups heavy cream

  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 2 tablespoons Captain Morgan spiced rum, or to taste

  • 3 egg yolks


For the garnish:

  • Candied almond slices

  • Vanilla ice cream

  • Sweetened condensed milk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with softened butter. Set aside.

Cut the baguettes into 1-inch pieces. (Keep the crusts on the bread.) Fit snugly into the 9-by-13-inch pan, scattering raisins between layers of bread. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the heavy cream, dark brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla and cinnamon stick. Heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until sugars are dissolved in the warm cream.

Remove cinnamon stick. Whisk in Captain Morgan spiced rum.

Slowly pour the cream mixture into the egg yolks while whisking vigorously with a wire whisk. (Be sure not to scramble the eggs.)

Pour the custard over the bread a little at a time, occasionally stopping to flatten the bread into the liquid. After you've added all the custard, check the top layer of bread cubes. If they have not absorbed enough custard, use a spoon to gently mix them into the center of the pudding. Cover and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

Bake about 40-45 minutes, until the pudding is golden brown and set.

Remove from oven and let cool until warm, not piping hot.

Slice into pieces and serve on separate plates, topped with candied almond slices, scoops of vanilla ice cream, and drizzles of sweetened condensed milk.

Extra bread pudding can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, bake in a 300-degree oven just until warmed through. Serve immediately.

— Paul Palomino


SIGNATURE BREAD PUDDING

Makes 10 servings

For the bread pudding:


  • 4 egg yolks

  • 11/2 cups sugar

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise

  • 1/2 cup brandy

  • 1/4 cup rum

  • 10 small, day-old dinner rolls, chilled

  • 3 day-old croissants, chilled

  • 2 day-old cheese Danishes, chilled

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


For the brandy sauce and garnish:


  • 2 cups heavy cream for the sauce, plus more to whip as garnish

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 3 tablespoons brandy, or more, to taste


Special equipment needed:

  • Candy thermometer

  • 5 (3-by-5-inch) mini loaf pans


The bread pudding: In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar. Set aside. Attach a candy thermometer to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place heavy cream and vanilla bean into the saucepan, and simmer over low heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 180 degrees, but be sure the temperature does not rise higher. Remove from heat.

Remove vanilla bean, then very slowly pour the hot cream into the egg-yolk mixture while whisking vigorously with a wire whisk. (Be sure not to scramble the eggs.)

Whisk in brandy and rum. Set the custard aside.

Cut cold dinner rolls, croissants and cheese Danishes into 2-inch cubes. Place half the dinner-roll pieces into a large bowl, then top with half the croissants. Then add half the Danish pieces. Repeat layers until the bread is all used up.

Pour the custard over the bread. Using a large spatula, very gently fold the bread into the custard, just until it absorbs the liquid. (Do not overmix. The bread pieces should remain chunky, not mushy.)

Cover the bowl, and chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. (You also can let it sit overnight.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the mini loaf pans with softened butter, then divide the bread-pudding mixture among them. Bake until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and keep warm in loaf pans until ready to serve.

The sauce: Place the cream and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally until liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Take the saucepan off the heat, and add brandy to taste. Set aside. Whip enough heavy cream to garnish the puddings. Set aside.

To serve, pour a few spoonfuls of brandy sauce on 5 dessert plates.

Flip the mini loaf pans upside down over a cutting board. Tap the bottoms of the pans until the bread puddings pop out. Place each bread pudding, crispy-side up, on a sauced plate.

Finish with a dollop of whipped cream, and serve immediately. (One loaf yields two servings.)

— Vatche Moukhtarian, Cracked Pepper Bistro


CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT BREAD PUDDING

Makes 8 servings

For the pan:


  • Parchment paper

  • Butter for coating the parchment paper


For the brioche:


  • 2 loaves brioche or a dense, white bread (preferably day-old)

  • 6 egg yolks

  • 11/2 cups sugar

  • 5 cups half and half

  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso, cooled to room temperature

  • 1/2 cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts (see directions below)

  • 12 ounces top-quality, chopped bittersweet chocolate

  • 1 cup heavy cream


Cut a round of parchment paper by tracing the bottom of a 10-inch cake pan. Butter the bottom of the pan, and fit the parchment into it. Set aside.

Cut the brioche into slices 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks. Add sugar and half and half. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add coffee or espresso. Set aside.

Toast hazelnuts in the oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and transfer nuts to a clean dish towel. Roll the nuts on the dish towel, vigorously working them back and forth until skin is removed. Coarsely chop the nuts. Set aside.

Chop chocolate.

To assemble, place slices of bread in the bottom of the prepared pan, slightly overlapping each piece. Cover the bottom of the pan with the bread slices. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate and hazelnuts over the top. Repeat with another layer of bread.

Place the 10-inch pan into a larger pan (to catch any overflow). Carefully pour the half-and-half mixture over the bread pudding. It will take some time to absorb. Take about 3-4 heavy dinner plates, and place them on top of the bread pudding. They will weigh down the pudding and help the bread absorb the half-and-half mixture. Leave the plates on for 1 hour, then remove them.

At this point, you can cook the pudding immediately, or cover the raw pudding and store it overnight, in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the cake pan from the larger pan. Place the 10-inch cake pan into the oven, and bake 1 hour.

To serve, heat heavy cream and pour a few spoonfuls over each piece of warm bread pudding. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat individual portions at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

— Tim Woods

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© 2009, The Fresno Bee . Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.