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:

ingredients:
**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.

preparations:
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.

Lemon Mousse she made in no time

lemon mousse she madeLast week we had friends over for an intimate dinner in which I prepared a scrumptious Moroccan meal they loved, loaded with flavors and colors. On the look out for a dessert I wanted to surprise my guests just a bit and offer something opposite to my Moroccan tradition. I wanted something light, fluffy, dairy free and lemony.

Bouncing ideas with my sister over the phone and a little Google research the word lemony kept repeating in my head and I’ve decided – Lemon Mousse – something I had never done before let alone eaten before. I was willing to take the risk not because it’s hard (so easy it’s ridiculous), but because it’s different and I’m always inspired by these glamorous mini French desserts and how they are served, that I was already armed with an idea for the presentation.

I’m not a double-boiler kind of girl (simply for the lack of patience) but this recipe which I find it light and quick, requires it so I decided to ignore the “inconvenience”. I’m glad I did.

lemon mousse she madeI was surprised to find that the citrusy flavor didn’t take over at all and it was absolutely a delight to eat.

Shall we:

ingredients:

3/4 c. white granulated sugar
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp lemon zest
4 eggs at room temperature
pinch kosher salt
fresh red raspberries for garnish

preparations:

In a double-boiler of simmering water over medium heat combine all the ingredients except for the raspberries. Whisk it all up. Do not stop whisking or you will end up with scrambled eggs in no time. Keep whisking (about five minutes? or more), and you will witness the magic process of how the mixture thickens and becomes smooth and and frothy almost like a high-end facial cream. To test: if the mixture coats the back of a spoon – it’s done. Remove from heat and gently pour the hot mixture through a strainer into a clean bowl to get rid of bits and pieces. Yes, you should notice the lemony aroma happening.

Arrange mini cups (glass cups are best so you can see through them) and pour into them the fluffy mousse you just made. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Before serving garnish each cup with fresh raspberries for added color and texture. You’d be surprised and your guests too, how airy and shockingly delicious this dessert feels and tastes.

Bon appetite