Sunday, August 23, 2009

Peach and Blueberry Bread Pudding

Dear pound of plums at the market,

I have to confess. Ever since passing you over, I've felt pretty guilty. I mean, you were just sitting there. On sale. Begging to be bought. Loved. Made into a beautiful plum and nectarine tart. And right next to you was a pound of bright, pink peaches. They screamed at me. Absolutely screamed at me. I have to admit, plums. The decision wasn't easy. But let's be honest... Not many people know a lot about you, plum. And not many people are willing to try you. And actually, you were kind of squishy that day. No offense, but I don't think you were as ripe as you should've been -- and well... You know how people are with fruit-gone-bad. It's nothing personal. Really.

I hope you know that I did think about going back to you, plums. But those peaches. I couldn't stop myself.

I mean, come on. Look at that shapely body. Plums, you may have some curves goin' on... but jeez. These peaches were just showin' all the right things to me. You understand, don't you?

I know, I know... I'm not making this any easier. But I'm sure that someone who deserved you more than I took you home and loved you a whole lot. Maybe they made a plum and nectarine tart out of you, too. Maybe they made an awesome plum barbacue sauce. Or maybe they just thought you were good enough on your own to eat. Either way, I'm sure that you got the attention you rightly deserve, plum. And I hope you can forgive me for picking peaches over you. Next time, I swear I'll pick you up instead. Cross my heart. For real.

Honestly, this peach and blueberry bread pudding was a breeze to make. I even made it a day ahead of time and it sat in the fridge just fine until I baked it in the morning. Cover it with some caramel sauce (homemade or store-bought... whatever you have on hand) and warm it all up... Man. I may not be a peach person, but I definitely was a fan about two munches into this stuff. Do I dare try to make a toffee sauce ontop next time? Maybe. Maybe not. Oh, and if you've never made bread pudding before -- don't worry. Neither have I. It's as easy as pie. Okay, actually, it's a lot easier than pie. Especially pie dough. That stuff is ridiculous.

So if you have a spare stale loaf of bread lying around... Make it. Do it. Eat it. Eat it warm and out of the oven covered in caramel sauce. In a bowl or a cup with a big spoon. Your tummy will thank you.

(P.S: This is really easy to make gluten free, too. Just use gluten free bread in place of the french bread. And for a fabulous twist, you can experiment with different kinds of bread -- I hear old croissants work lovely.)

Peach and Blueberry Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups of stale, cubed french bread (note: if your bread isn't stale, you can easily stale it by putting it in the oven for a few minutes, or just by leaving it out unwrapped overnight/for a few hours)
2/3 cup fresh peaches, peeled and sliced thin (about 3 peaches)
1/3 cup fresh/frozen blueberries
Caramel Sauce (Like the kind you put on ice-cream)

1. If baking right away, preheat your oven to 350.
2. Beat eggs in a large bowl until frothy (in other words, all bubbly and foamy on top.)
3. Add brown sugar, salt, milk, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix until well-blended.
4. Stir in bread and fresh fruit gently until just coated.
5. If baking right away, let sit for at least 15 minutes until the bread is well soaked. If baking the next day, cover with wrap and let sit in the refrigerator overnight or at least 30 minutes before baking.
6. Spray an 8x8 pan (I used a 9x13 inch) with non-stick spray, or lightly butter it. Then spread mixture in pan. Bake 35-40 minutes.

7. Warm caramel sauce in a microwave safe cup, then pour all over warm bread pudding. Eat while still warm (or, if you need to wait later to serve, keep it at room temperature and then stick it in a 325 degree oven for about 3 minutes or so to warm it up).

Tip: The longer the mixture sits, the better the texture.


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