The Bread Pudding Diet.

Let me just premise this by disclosing that this is in no way a healthy recipe. If you make this recipe four times in one week, like I have, you will gain weight. If this is your goal, then all the power to you. If not, you may want to control yourself and cut it down to once per week. If you can, that is.

There is a marvelous cafe in my neighbourhood called Little Nest. For the past two Sundays we have strolled in for Sunday brunch. On both occasions I have ordered the french toast. Butterscotch syrup, pistachios, bananas, lemon creme fraiche, and the tastiest french bread your tongue will ever meet. It is incredible. The decor is clean and simple with a lot of white and a lot of wood. The furniture is a beautiful mish mash of 50s-retro pieces. This cafe is family-oriented, so you may want to get your food to go (or sit outside) if you're not one to handle the loud buzzing (or screaming) of a plethora of small children while you eat the best french toast you've ever had.

Little Nest also sells delicious pistachio, orange blossom and dark chocolate bread pudding muffins. Unfortunately due to my schedule, I never have the opportunity to stop by and pick one up. So I did what any good do-it-yourselfer would do and asked for the recipe. Easy. I've made it four times since last Monday. You should make it too. Here's how:

8-10 c. diced french bread
1 c. milk
4 eggs
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. melted butter
1 tsp. orange blossom extract
1 tsp. cinammon
orange zest from one orange
dark chocolate*
dried cranberries*

*these three ingredients can be swapped for whatever you're in the mood for.

Place the diced bread in a bowl and soak in milk. Let soak for at least 10 minutes, making sure you stir it to get all the bread covered.

In another bowl melt butter, stir in sugar, cinammon, extract, and zest.

Add butter mixture to bread and stir well. Add in chocolate, nuts, and cranberries.

Place bread mixture in to well greased or lined muffin tins. I used squares of parchment paper in mine as makeshift liners. Bake in a preheated (350 degrees) oven for 35 - 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. They're best fresh out of the oven, however warming them in the microwave the next day isn't bad either.

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