Sunday, June 1, 2008

The transformative powers of baking

One of the things I love most about baking is its ability to transform even the most basic of main ingredients -- eggs, bread, etc. -- into a dish that's way better than just the sum of its parts. Take, for example, Paula Deen's Chocolate Bread Pudding, which I made last Thursday. The recipe transformed this:

Into this:

Which quickly turned into this:

With the help of, it must be mentioned, a talented supporting cast:

(That's 2 cups of sugar and some cocoa powder.)

(And that's six--count 'em, six--eggs. Er, egg shells.)

For some more recipes that morph basic ingredients into sumptuous desserts, scroll down.

Paula Deen's Chocolate Bread Pudding(found on
1 (1-pound) loaf French or Italian bread, cubed
3 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup coffee flavored liqueur
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 eggs, lightly beaten
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and place the bread in the dish. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, and liqueur. Using another bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder and mix well. Add the sugar mixture to the milk mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla and almond extract, and cinnamon to the beaten eggs. Combine the egg mixture to the milk mixture and mix well.
Stir the grated chocolate into the mixture. Pour the mixture over the cubed bread in the pan. Let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally for approximately 20 minutes or until bread absorbs most of the milk mixture. Bake pudding for 1 hour or until set. Check pudding by inserting a knife through the middle and it should come out clean.

Serve the pudding warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled with whipped cream if desired. (Ed. Note: I served it with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Yum.)

More Recipes
Do you have any favourite dessert recipes based on really simple main ingredients? Please let me know in the comments!


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