Mango Bread Pudding with Chai Spices

Bread Pudding ….. its just bread plus eggs plus a sweetened, spiced milk mixture. What makes it special is the blend of spices mixed into it and the sauce.

When done right, bread pudding should have the perfect balance of gooey goodness and chewy texture. That’s why stale bread is important. The bread needs a degree of crunch otherwise you will have ‘mush pudding‘.

For today’s recipe, I started by making a loaf of Challah bread. This is an ‘eggy’ bread that can soak up custard without collapsing. It will toast nicely on the outside and leave you with a creamy pudding inside.

Challah is a very straight forward bread to make. The dough is enriched with eggs and oil, while a few tablespoons of sugar add some sweetness and it doesn’t require any fussy techniques. Because challah is traditionally braided, proofing is key…. if the dough is not properly proofed, it will tear in the oven while baking.

Here’s where it becomes ‘comfort food‘ made with glorious challah, tropical mangos and spices inspired by the world’s love affair with Indian chai.

Chai, which is sometimes overlooked, adds a distinct warm flavor and depth. It can include a number of different spices. Cardamom is the most common ingredient, followed by some mixture of cinnamon, ginger, star anise and cloves. Pepper, coriander, nutmeg and fennel are also used but they are slightly less common.

For the finishing touch, I made a rum sauce. Who says bread pudding has to be boring!

Print Recipe
Mango Bread Pudding with Chai Spices
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Challah Bread
  1. In a small bowl, place lukewarm water & sprinkle with yeast & a pinch of sugar; stir to combine. Let stand about 5-10 minutes until frothy. In a large bowl, place 4 cups flour, sugar & salt; whisk to combine.
  2. Make a well in the center of flour mixture & add eggs, egg yolk & oil; whisk to form a slurry. Pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry. Combine with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough that is difficult to mix forms.
  3. On a floured work surface, turn out dough & knead for about 10 minutes. If dough is sticky, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it feels tacky. The dough should be soft, smooth & hold a ball shape. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise, in a draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Divide the dough into 3 or 6 equal pieces, depending on the type of braid you wish to make. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope about 16-inches long. If the ropes shrink as you try to roll them, let them rest 5 minutes to relax the gluten & then try again. For the 6 stranded braid as I made, the name of the game is 'over two, under one, over two'. Carry the right-most rope over the two ropes beside it, slip it under the middle rope, then carry it over the last two ropes. Lay the rope down parallel to the other ropes; it is now the furthest strand. Repeat this pattern until you reach the end of the loaf. Try to make your braid as tight as possible. Once you reach the end, squeeze the ends of the ropes together & tuck them under the loaf.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the braided loaf on top & sprinkle with a little flour. Cover with a tea towel & allow to rise about 1 hour. About 20 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 350 F. When ready to bake, whisk the reserved egg white with 1 Tbsp. of water & brush carefully over challah. Bake 30-35 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Remove from oven & cool before cutting up for bread pudding.
Bread Pudding
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an 8 x 8-inch baking dish; toss bread & mango cubes together in it. In a medium bowl, whisk the rest of the ingredients together & pour over the bread & mangoes; allow the mixture to soak for about 5 minutes. Bake about 1 1/4 hours, or until set.
Rum Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Mix together sugar & cornstarch; stir into the melted butter. Slowly pour in milk, stirring frequently until mixture begins to lightly boil. Continue cooking until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat & stir in rum. Serve warm over bread pudding.

German New Years Cake

The German New Years cake is a traditional round cake with three layers of different fillings: poppy seeds, nuts & apple. Going back to pre-Christian days, ring-shaped breads and cakes were always considered fortunate because they signified continuity by ‘coming full circle’ or ‘the circle of life’.

The start of the new year has a tenancy to turn even non-believers a bit superstitious.  All around the world, New Years Day  is filled with traditions and symbolic ritual with many of the traditions revolving around food. Certain foods symbolize wealth, prosperity, health and good luck for the coming year. In some cultures, cakes or bread have symbolic items baked inside.

Poppy Seed is believed to bring a year of abundance. Nuts are a symbol of new life and potential. Apples, along with healing properties should bring a ‘sweet new year’!

Keeping all that in mind, it seems like a good reason to invest some time into making this special layered GERMAN NEW YEARS CAKE.


Print Recipe


German New Years Cake

Votes: 2
Rating: 4.5
You:
Rate this recipe!

Course dessert

Servings


Ingredients
Cake Dough

Poppy Seed Filling

Apple Filling

Course dessert

Servings


Ingredients
Cake Dough

Poppy Seed Filling

Apple Filling

Votes: 2
Rating: 4.5
You:
Rate this recipe!


Instructions
Cake Dough
  1. In a large bowl, combine dough ingredients & knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap & place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Poppy Seed Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, combine all poppy seed ingredients. Place over LOW heat for 1-2 minutes; remove from heat & cool.

Nut Filling
  1. In a small bowl, combine all nut filling ingredients; set aside.

Apple Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, saute peeled & chopped apples over low heat with butter & sugar. Do not add any water as they need to be semi-soft, NOT MUSHY.

Assembly of Cake
  1. Divide chilled dough in HALF, then divide one of the halves into THIRDS. Roll out the largest piece into a circle big enough to cover the bottom & sides of a 12-inch spring form pan. Make sure to have a bit hanging over the top of the ring.

  2. Add the poppy filling. Roll out one of the small pieces of dough to fit neatly on top of filling. Gently cover with nut filling. Roll second small piece of dough; fit over nut filling. Add apple filling layer. Fold extra dough edges onto apples & top with third piece of dough. Your dough base & dividers should all be rolled quite THIN.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat egg & add a tiny bit of water. Brush it over top surface. Bake for about 1 hour & 20 minutes until golden. Remove from oven & place on a wire rack to cool. This cake is best if left in a cool place for a day or two before serving so the flavors will marry. Dust with a layer of powdered sugar before serving.


Recipe Notes
  • When you're making this type of cake, never hesitate to adjust the quantity of any one of the filling layers to make it not as thick if you feel it might be too overpowering to your personal taste.

German Poppy Seed Coffee Roll

Germany’s love of poppy seed is no secret, you can find it in everything from sweet to savory foods. For many German and central eastern Europeans, poppy seeds are a symbol of wealth, the tiny seeds representing coins. They figure prominently at Christmas and New Year’s, expressing hoped-for prosperity in the coming year.

Poppy seed cultivation dates back to 1400 BC. Early Egyptians pressed the seed into cooking oil whereas the the ancient Romans mixed them with wine and honey for Olympic athletes or home use. It should be made clear though, that this spice is not narcotic because opium is found in the pod and not in the seed itself. The dried pod loses any of it’s opiate properties long before the seeds are harvested.

‘Mohn Kaffee Rolle’  is considered a nostalgic German Christmas pastry much like Stollen is. One thing for certain, in keeping with true European tradition, poppy seed is added in such large quantities that the dough sometimes looks black.

When I recall my mother’s poppy seed roll, it was never dry. It seemed like a vanilla custard with ‘wall to wall’ poppy seeds in it. There were numerous recipes in her file — cake, roll, twists, cookies, strudel, pudding — everything and anything  poppy seed!  This recipe seems unique in that it uses a  ‘Zwillingsteig’  (zwilling=twin, teig=dough) dough, a rich, moist dough used in the past when making cakes with fresh fruit. The dough is a combination of yeasted  and shortcrust dough kneaded together. It seems a little involved but is well worth it in the end. One more special ‘taste of a memory’ before the holiday season is to far behind us.

 

Print Recipe
'Mohn Kaffee Rolle' - Poppy Seed Coffee Roll
A unique, very tender pastry, slightly sweet with loads of poppy seeds!
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine German
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Shortcrust Dough
Yeast Dough
Poppy Seed Filling
Glaze
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine German
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Shortcrust Dough
Yeast Dough
Poppy Seed Filling
Glaze
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Shortcrust Dough
  1. In a bowl, place all shortcrust ingredients & quickly knead together until well combined. Shape into a disk & set aside. Dough can be made a day ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap & refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before combining with yeast dough.
Yeast Dough
  1. In a small dish, sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water, add 1 tsp sugar stirring until dissolved. Let stand 5 minutes. Sift flour with 3 Tbsp sugar & salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender. Add lukewarm milk, egg & vanilla to yeast mixture, then gradually add to flour mixture & blend.
  2. Press dough out to about 1 inch thickness & lay disk of shortcrust on top. Knead together by hand until fully combined, about 2 minutes. Shape into a ball & place in a greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel, let raise in a warm, draft free spot for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Poppy Seed Filling
  1. Grind poppy seeds. In a small saucepan, combine poppy seeds, sugar, semolina & salt. Add butter & milk. Place over medium high heat; stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Remove from heat immediately & set aside to cool. When mixture is lukewarm, stir in egg, vanilla, rum & walnuts. Set aside.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When dough has risen, punch down & roll out on a lightly floured surface about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thickness.
  3. Spread with cooled poppy seed filling leaving a 1 inch border on each of the shorter ends. Brush shorter ends with egg wash. Starting from shorter end, roll dough, jelly-roll style, into a tight log. Cut into 2 loaf pan lengths.
  4. With a sharp knife, cut each log of dough in half lengthwise. Carefully twist the two pieces of dough together & place into prepared pans. Brush dough with egg wash, cover with greased plastic wrap & let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 F. When dough has risen, brush again with egg wash & bake about 40 minutes or until golden brown. When loaves have fully cooled, whisk together powdered sugar, water & lemon zest until smooth. Brush glaze over loaves & allow to set before slicing.
Recipe Notes
  • Unless you can find freshly ground poppy seeds, it is best to buy the whole seeds, store them in the freezer and grind them right before using. Because of their high oil content, the seeds easily turn rancid.
  • Good poppy seeds smell slightly 'musty' and have a nutty flavor - not bitter or harsh.

French Crepes in Paris, France

Today, July 25th, we celebrate my sister Loretta’s birthday.

                  ‘To have a sister like you is like finding a treasure in ones life’.                                                          ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LORETTA’, you deserve all the best!’

In the fall of 2001, Brion & I, joined by Loretta, made our first trip to Europe. Before that our holidays had pretty much been in the USA. This was a whole new learning curve that has forever changed the meaning of travel for us. Our destination was France, starting out in Paris, then renting a car and driving to the west coast then on down through southern France.

The hotel we were staying at in Paris looked out over a ‘pedestrian only’ street. When we arrived it was evening and the street was dark and pretty much deserted. The next morning we heard a lot of hustle-bustle in the street below. When we looked out, the sight was just incredible! The street was lined with shops which were now open for business. It was the most beautiful sight to look down on with all its colors and activity. During the next few days we enjoyed everything Paris  to the fullest.

Down from our hotel we came upon a little street vendor selling crepes of all things. The taste was amazing! Fifteen years later, they have joined our ‘taste of a memory’ food list, knowing that so much of it was time & place.

Crepes are such a great meal. Simple to make with so many options whether it is a savory or sweet version. One of our favorite savory choices is a Seafood Crepe,  which I feature in my ebook, ‘LIVING LARGE ON A LEAN FOOD BUDGET’. For a sweet treat, you might enjoy to try these Strawberry-Citrus Crepes.

Print Recipe
French Crepes
Crepe batters can be stored in the fridge for a day ---- cooked crepes in the freezer.
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Ingredients
Basic Crepe Batter
Parmesan Herb Crepe; add to ingredients of Basic Crepe batter
Chocolate Dessert Crepe; add toingredients of Basic Crepe batter
Basic Dessert Crepe; decrease milk in Basic Crepe to 1 1/3 cups & add the following
Gouda Sauce for Seafood Crepes
Strawberry-Citrus Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Basic Crepe Batter
Parmesan Herb Crepe; add to ingredients of Basic Crepe batter
Chocolate Dessert Crepe; add toingredients of Basic Crepe batter
Basic Dessert Crepe; decrease milk in Basic Crepe to 1 1/3 cups & add the following
Gouda Sauce for Seafood Crepes
Strawberry-Citrus Filling
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Crepes
  1. Place all ingredients in blender; whirl for 1 minute at high speed. Scrape down sides, whirl for another 15 seconds. Pour into a bowl & cover; refrigerate 1 hour. Heat a non-stick griddle to 350 F. Measure about 3 Tbsp of batter per crepe onto griddle. With back of spoon form batter into an 8-inch circle. Cook until golden on each side then lay on a wire rack to cool.
Gouda Crepe Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, melt margarine; sprinkle with flour & seasonings. Mix well; add milk & broth, stirring until sauce becomes thickened. Add cheese & blend.
Seafood Filling
  1. In a large skillet, saute zucchini, onion & garlic in oil for several minutes. Add mushrooms, green pepper & water chestnuts; cook 1 more minute. Combine ginger, soy sauce & water in a cup; add to vegetable mixture along with seafood. Gently stir fry ONLY until seafood is cooked. Reserve 1/2 cup Gouda sauce & add the rest to mixture.
  2. Divide filling between crepes; roll crepes & place on serving plates. Spoon remaining sauce over each of the filled crepes. Place each meal in microwave (covered) for 15 - 20 seconds on high. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if desired. Serve immediately.
Strawberry-Citrus Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, combine water, cornstarch, lemon juice, orange juice & sugar; blend well. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture thickens & becomes clear. Remove from heat & set aside to cool. Slice strawberries either by hand or using an egg slicer. In a small dish, combine yogurt & honey.
  2. In a large bowl, gently fold about 1 1/2 cups citrus glaze together with sliced strawberries (I used about 3 large strawberries per crepe). Lay 12 crepes on work surface & place equal amounts of strawberry/glaze mixture on one half of each crepe. Fold over opposite side then fold in half again. Place 3 crepes on each of four serving plates. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Serve Honey/Yogurt on the side as well as any extra citrus sauce you have left from filling.
Recipe Notes
  • I have been making crepes for a long time but have never bothered to buy a 'crepe' pan to cook them in. A non-stick griddle has always worked great for me.  Using a 1/4 measuring cup, first to pour a circle of batter on the griddle then with the bottom of it, keep enlarging the crepe to the size you want.
  • Being able to make all your crepe ingredients the day before then putting it all together on the day served is such a bonus.