Egg Free Spiced Cranberry & Chocolate Bread Pudding With A Lime-Vanilla Sauce
The reason for this bread pudding and post is Paper Chef. If you haven’t come across this before, Paper Chef is a virtual competition where 4 ingredients are randomly chosen every month, from a list which I understand is presently 103 items long! What you do is come up with a recipe using those 4 ingredients, cook it up, photograph it and blog about it. And if you win, you get to choose the next month’s 4 ingredients!
In the past, I’ve always wanted to join the fun at Paper Chef but never found the time. When I did find the time, the ingredients were either not available here or not suitable for a vegetarian chef. And then Paper Chef took a break.
Well, Paper Chef is back again, and I mentioned to Ilva (one of the hosts) that I wouldn’t be able to make the 7th deadline so maybe I would join in next month. Ilva, being the sweet person she is, told me she would accomodate my being a bit ate to the party so here I am.
It turns out that this month’s 4 ingredients are just down my alley. The ingredients are “Bread, Chocolate, Berries and Lime”
Bread and chocolate are two things I really like and lime seemed right since we don’t seem to get lemons in India! The “berries” was a bit of a problem as its monsoon (seasonal rains) in my part of the world and mango time, not berry time. But that’s when I remembered I had some cranberries in the fridge.
It really takes one food blogger to know another; we know just what sort of gifts to get each other that would push the right buttons! I have mentioned how Finla played Santa in February by sending me a bag full of “loot” including 2 boxes of cranberries. Last week, Harini came down to stay over and guess what she brought me? Cranberries and lot of other foodie stuff plus some photography props! Now, these two ladies and I have been friends for a while and our friendship goes way beyond food and blogging, but well thought out gifts always help, right?
When I first saw the ingredient bread, all I could think of was bread pudding. One would think that bread pudding is easy enough to make but a lot of the time bread pudding seems to turn out a gloppy messy thing which I wouldn’t touch with the proverbial ten foot pole!
For me bread pudding is soft, creamy and moist while just holding its shape and texture. You should be able to slice through it with your spoon and have it almost dissolve in your mouth.
The challenge here was how to incorporate the lime into the bread pudding. I finally decided to make a sauce out of it. We also don’t like “eggy” custards here at home, so I made my custard for the bread pudding and the sauce with vanilla flavoured custard powder.
I used ordinary white bread, but the bread pudding would taste better if one used brioche, challah or other enriched breads. I made individual bread puddings using dariole moulds as I find it easy to unmould and serve them this way. You can also bake them in ramekins or in an 8” square dish.
For the Spiced Cranberry & Chocolate Bread Pudding :
For the Lime Vanilla Sauce :
- For the Bread Pudding, lightly butter the bread slices and toast them till golden brown, then cut them into 1” squares and put them in a big bowl. In another bowl, lightly hand whisk together the cream, milk, custard powder, sugar, lime zest, melted butter, vanilla extract, chai masala and salt. Once well blended and the sugar has dissolved, pour this liquid into the bread squares and lightly mix in a folding motion to coat all the bread. Cover and keep aside for about 15 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, generously grease/ butter 4 or 5 dariole moulds (or ramekins/ square dish) depending on their size. Sprinkle one half of the cranberries equally amongst the moulds. Sprinkle one half of the chocolate chips over this.
- Now half fill the moulds with the soaked bread squares. If the soaked bread seems a bit dry, add a little milk and mix gently. The bread should be wet but not soggy! Sprinkle the remaining cranberries and chocolate chips equally amongst the moulds. Top all the moulds with the remaining soaked bread.
- Place the moulds/ baking dish in a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan carefully so it comes up to about 1/3rd of the moulds. Carefully place the roasting pan with the moulds into your oven and bake the pudding at 180C (350F) for about 22 to 25 minutes. When ready the top of the pudding must be light brown, looking a bit puffed and feel firm to touch. Do not let it dry out. A skewer inserted into the pudding should come out clean.
- Allow the pudding to cool in the moulds for 10 minutes and then loosen the sides with a knife. Unmould onto a serving plate and serve warm with lime-vanilla sauce.
- For the Vanilla-Lime Sauce, put the sugar, melted butter, custard powder, water, vanilla and salt in a pan and lightly whisk by hand till blended. Place the pan on the stove and cook the mixture on medium heat, whisking constantly, till the sauce starts thickening. Make sure the sauce doesn’t form lumps.
- Add the lime juice and zest, whisk till blended and it thickens to a light pouring consistency. Let the sauce cool. Whisk occasionally so it is smooth. The sauce will thicken a little more as it cools. If the sauce is too thick add a spoon or two of water, mix well and warm slightly before serving with the pudding.
- You can use this recipe with I cup of water (instead of 1 1/4 cup) to make an egg free lime curd.