Pure, delightful and guilt-free French-toast bread pudding

french toast bread pudding

I know I know you don’t have to tell me. It’s only bread pudding so what’s so special about it? First, it’s the first time I’ve ever made it. Second, I made it to rescue a left-over from being wasted (that’s a good thing right?). Third and most importantly, I used basic  ingredients to create light, puffy and delicious French-toast bread pudding that makes you ask for more with no guilt, only because it’s not loaded with other “stuff” most people I know would put in it.

So, every Friday we celebrate Shabbat and almost always end up with left-over challah bread that nobody bothers to eat again the following day. No matter what I do it wont be seen in anyone’s mouth – shame. So I’ve decided to not give up and try my french toast bread pudding style – pure and simple. No fuzzy or unnecessary ingredients. Let me tell you it was a huge success. How do I know that? Just when I was ready to take pictures of beautifully presented pudding to entice you my readers, it was all gone. I was late.

Lesson learned: No more wasted challah bread ever. And…I was late.

challah bread puddingDon’t you just love how the sugar sparkles like crystals? So crunchy with first few bites you can almost feel your teeth “braking” these delicate crystals…oh I want to have one now.

challah bread pudding

I know there are many varieties to make bread pudding be it with dried fruit, nuts, heavy creams, two thousands yolks you name it. But I refuse to shop for anything special just to rescue left-over challah and I want it pure, simple and delicious. I used what I had in my pantry. The addition of my “surprise spice” – cardamon – gives the pudding a distinctive “lift” in flavor and aroma that you won’t regret adding it.

Feel free to adjust or add whatever you like but with this recipe you will enjoy pure flavors without anything else taking over the other. So, shall we:

**5 cups egg-free day old Challah bread, cubed
3 large eggs
2 egg whites
2 cups low-fat milk
1/4 cup water
1 vanilla bean
pinch kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
5 cardamon cloves, crushed no skin
1/2 cup of light brown sugar plus 2 tbsp for garnish
1/4 cup raisins (any kind)
non-stick cooking spray

**I buy egg-free challah bread but you can use any challah bread you like.

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease 6 small ramekins or medium ceramic baking dish, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl place challah pieces and the raisins. In another mixing bowl combine the rest of the ingredients. Whisk all together until well combined and then whisk a little more. Pour custard over the bread pieces, toss well to coat and let it soak for an hour. Give a light toss to fluff it up and pack pudding into greased ramekins or baking dish. Sprinkle with light brown sugar.
Bake for about 35 minutes or more, or until puffed and is lightly golden brown in color. Insert a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean and dry it’s done. You will notice how the sugar topping sparkles. Gotta love that.

Serve warm with a nice cup of fresh hot mint tea or your favorite coffee. Mmm…I’m envious already.

Bon apettite.

Tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakes

Big name
little effort.

Does it ever happen to you that you crave for something to eat and don’t know what it is? sweet? savory? home cooked meal or just that something to satisfy your desire? it happens to me a lot maybe because I simply want to try a lot of things at one time. So it’s a new day and a new day calls for new something. Something sweet and comforting that reminds me my childhood home…or my sisters’ homes (they baked a lot when their kids were young). Do I have a treat for you.

I was in a mood for a dark, deep, rich color with smooth texture. How did I come about it? While I rearranged my living room today (which happens quite often) and I laid my new rug on the floor, it came in these beautiful deep silky earthy hues of browns that the colors naturally triggered my cravings to – you guesses it – chocolate.

But not just chocolate. I craved warm, silky, melting chocolate with just the right amount of crunch. Petite in size zapped with a touch of sour red berry. Oh, my juice buds are exploding as I write this.

tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakeDon’t you feel the same now? than go ahead and make this super simple yet light and so tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakes. It requires minimum effort – if you have nutella chocolate spread – then you have almost everything you need.
tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcake
tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakesyou can serve it like this
tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakeor like this

tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcake

or eat it straight out of the paper…like me.

tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakeServe it to guests and I promise they will think you worked very hard on it. I just can’t promise how many will satisfy you or them: three…five…

Shall we:

about 6-8 medium size cupcakes:
3/4 c. nutella spread
1 whole egg
1 egg white
4 tbsp white flour, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
handful of any kind of berries
1/2 c. chocolate chip (optional – fun for kids)
medium size paper muffin cup


In a large bowl combine whole egg, egg white, vanilla extract and nutella. Whisk until smooth. Add the flour and whisk gently until well combined. Set a side.

Heat oven to 350°. Meanwhile cut the berries to small pieces.

Insert paper muffin cups into a tin muffin pan (if you have one, it simply helps with support). Spoon the nutella batter into the paper muffin cups about 3/4 full. Top with chopped pecans, or chocolate chips or both. Insert a few pieces of berries into the batter filled cups. Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out soft and sticky. For a drier consistency bake 5 minutes longer. Let cool in paper cups for 10 min. Serve warm and enjoy this delectable treat.

 Bon apetite.

The perfect pear – shockingly delicious dessert

perfect pear dessert

perfect pears dessertIt’s gorgeous, its sexy and shockingly delicious thanks to the aged balsamic vinegar that adds a unique zap to this dish.

Deep in color and transparency the glaze is gently poured over the pears drips from top to bottom, creating this perfect little puddle on the plate – a perfect warm blanket for a scoop of vanilla ice cream – it will awaken all your senses!

It’s a favorite in my family and among friends and one of the easiest to make. The idea is to use an aged balsamic vinegar – the best you can efford.

pears in a pot - perfect pear dessertshall we:

4 firm pears, peeled and left whole (Bosc work well)
2 cups of water
½ cup of a good quality aged balsamic vinegar – the best you can efford.
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
3 tbsp honey
5 cloves
1 tsp cardamon seeds, crashed
vanilla ice cream (optional)

perfect pear dessertPreparation:

From the bottom of the pears cut a small slice so pears can stand upright.
In a medium heavy sauce pan combine water, balsamic vinegar, sugar and spices. Lay the pears in liquid and bring to a gentle boil on a medium/high heat. Cover the pot half way with a lid (so not to cause an over-spill), reduce to simmer. Cook pears for about 30 min or until tender, making sure you turn pears at least once.
Remove pears from the pot and set a side to cool. Continue to cook the balsamic glaze on a medium/high heat until thickens and sauce reduced to about half a cup. At this time the sauce turns into a beautiful transparent dark glaze. Remove from heat and let cool. The sauce thickens a little bit more while cooling. Remove bits of spices if you want. I usually leave it.
On a beautiful dessert dish place pears, or a single pear, upright. Gently spoon the warm balsamic glaze over the pear. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired and garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Serve it to yourself of course, and guests – you don’t have to say a word. They will.

perfect pears dessert

perfect pears dessert with vanilla ice cream

Eat. Bon apptite