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Bonnie Aeschliman: Bread pudding the ultimate comfort food

  • Published Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, at 8:26 p.m.

LIMONCELLO BREAD PUDDING

This recipe is from “Carrabba’s Italian Grill: Recipes From Around Our Family Table” (John Wiley and Sons Inc., 2011).

Softened butter for the baking dish

5 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup limoncello

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

6 cups (1-inch) cubed egg bread, such as brioche or challah (about 12 ounces)

Limoncello Syrup:

1/2 cup limoncello

1/2 cup sugar

Vanilla ice cream for serving

6 fresh mint leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter an 11 1/2-by-8-inch baking dish.

Whisk eggs, sugar, limoncello and vanilla together in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the milk and cream. Add the bread cubes and stir. Let stand until the bread has absorbed some of the liquid, about 15 minutes. Pour into the baking dish.

Bake until gently puffed and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. To serve warm, let cool for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the limoncello syrup. Bring the limoncello and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let boil without stirring for 1 minute to reduce slightly. Remove from heat. Use the syrup while it is still warm.

Cut the warm pudding into 6 equal pieces. Put each pudding portion in a bowl, top each with a scoop of ice cream, and drizzle with the warm syrup. Garnish each with a mint sprig and serve at once.

THE WICHITA EAGLE — Oct. 17, 2012

In all my years of teaching cooking classes, one dessert is consistently devoured and discussed: bread pudding.

It is perhaps the ultimate comfort food. It’s simple to make, requires no special equipment and uses very basic ingredients. It is not even particularly beautiful on the plate, but it sure tastes good.

Its roots go back many years to when the dish was developed to use up stale bread. People didn’t throw away anything — that would be wasteful. Resourceful cooks added some milk, eggs and a little sugar to stale bread and baked it to create bread pudding. Now we have many variations of the dish and, no doubt, they have been improved through the years.

Now I make a pretty mean bread pudding that students have raved about for years.

Joe Parten of Carrabba’s Italian Grill was a recent guest chef at my cooking school, and he taught us a wonderful Italian menu. His dessert was Limoncello Bread Pudding, and it was fabulous. He used limoncello, a lemon-based liqueur that is a staple in many households in Sicily, as residents make a homemade version from lemons growing in their backyards. You will enjoy this recipe: It is comfort food, Italian-style.

Bonnie Aeschliman is a certified culinary professional who owns Cooking at Bonnie’s Place in Wichita. For more information, call 316-425-5224 or visit cookingatbonnies.com. To submit a question to Bonnie, e-mail her at bonnie@cookingatbonnies.com.

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