Thursday, September 22, 2016

Midweek Roundup: "Tasted Great!"

Photo by Rachel
Cooking and Thinking

Because she doesn't "own nine matching mini souffle bowls" (not many people do) and because her "antipathy for precision in presentation is longstanding," Rachel "opted to make one large pudding."  I'm muttering under my breath just a little as I type this because honestly, that does sound a lot easier, and Rachel and I are usually on the same wavelength when it comes to fussiness in presentation.  She thought it was fun to slice the baguette to make the many thin slices, and she decided while she was at it, she might as well clarify three cups of butter so she'd have "plenty for making popcorn."  (Sounds like Rachel will have the best popcorn on the block).  She couldn't quite bring herself to use three cups of cream so she defatted the pudding to the extent of using half and half instead of heavy cream.  She was "willing to go with rich instead of super-rich."  Which I think is a fine compromise.

Like Rachel, Kristina didn't have 9 matching souffle bowls.  But she did have 8 (not all quite the same size), so she made 8 bread puddings instead of 9.  When she was shaping the bread, Kristina cut the slices in half because otherwise, she noted, the instruction to place the bread slices "cut side down" made no sense.  (I wondered about that too--I looked at the sliced baguette pieces, held them up, turned them every which way, and tried to figure out what the "cut side" was.  Kristina's explanation makes more sense than anything I could think of).  Despite the "chocolate advantage" of these puddings, Kristina still thought she preferred more traditional ones with custard and raisins, but then she just got back from England, so maybe she's still thinking of English things like custard and raisins.

Orin really went all out, and made her own baguettes instead of just buying them.  Orin discovered her fiance crunching away on the buttered and toasted baguette slices, but instead of giving him the evil eye, she just toasted more baguette slices.  The bulk of Orin's pudding went into four heart-shaped molds, which she presented on a plate with homemade raspberry jam.  Look no further if you're trying to think of a lovely Valentine's Day dessert.  Orin's taster "loved that it wasn't too sweet...  He loved the crunchy top and thought it added texture to the dessert."

If you've read Catherine's witty commentary over the past several years, you won't be surprised to hear about her baking adventures with her mother.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  Catherine's mum described Rose (or maybe just her methods) as "relentless" after reading the multi-step, multi-container, multi-page recipe.  And they both, when faced with the question of whether it made sense to melt the chocolate separately, as specified, or simply let the chocolate melt in the warm cream, opted for the easier approach.  Whatever the method, I think you can glean from the different experiences of the Alpha Bakers that it's hard to go wrong with this chocolate bread pudding.

Next week:  Bourbon Pecan Butter Balls.  If you have some Chocolate Oriolos resting in the freezer, you can use them for this recipe.  Otherwise, you have Rose's permission to use chocolate wafers that you've bought from the grocery store.

I won't be able to do a roundup next week because Jim and I are going to Ireland for a week.  But I'll post the bourbon balls, and, hopefully, will have enough time to make the marble cheesecake for the following week.

The countdown:  We're down to 12 great recipes!


  1. This sounds fabulous! The only bread pudding I've made involved an Amaretto sauce, but will be on my to-do list. :-)

  2. Great photo Rachel. Have a lovely time in Ireland, Marie and Jim.