Saturday, May 30, 2009

Comfort Food

In the middle of the 30-days last January (2nd week, Temptation of Christ to be specific), I got sick. All I did was sleep and pray and throw-up. Tea and oral rehydration solution (thanks to UNESCO for the recipe) were my salvation.

Several days later, when I finally felt ready to tackle dinner (and dessert), there was an amazing bread pudding for dessert. Plated in pools of bright raspberry sauce and redolent of cinnamon, it was a delight to eye and palate. The sister at the table with me was so taken with it, she nearly licked the plate clean. Me, too. It was seriously comforting food.

We had several stale ends of French bread left over this week. I usually turn these into bread crumbs or croutons, but had enough to consider bread pudding. So that's what I did this afternoon, along with a batch of berry syrup to drizzle over my yogurt (and over the bread pudding). Barnacle Boy and Bead Girl approved the final product -- and it matches my memory well (though I discovered today I deeply associate this with the temptation of Christ!!!)

30-days Bread Pudding

1 large loaf of very stale French bread (or the equivalent)
1/2 cup butter, melted
7 eggs (!)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 2/3 cup non-fat milk
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon

Roughly cube the bread into 1" chunks. Place bread cubes (and the crumbs made in the process) in a large bowl, toss with the melted butter. Whisk eggs and sugar; stir in remaining ingredients. Pour the egg mixure over the bread in the large bowl. Let stand for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Generously butter an 11 x 13 pan (I used a glass pan), pour in the mixture. Tightly cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 F for 45 or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Serve warm with raspberry syrup or sprinkle with powdered sugar. (Some like this cold, but I'm all for warm!)

Berry Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
zest from one orange
6 cups berries (I used a mix of frozen berries: black raspberry, wild blueberry, raspberry)

Bring the water to a boil, stir in sugar until it dissolves. Remove from heat. Place berries in a blender, pour the water/sugar solution over the top. Puree. Strain out the seeds, stir in the zest, bring briefly to the boil again. Cool, then store in fridge or freezer until ready to use.

UNESCO oral rehydration solution

1 litre of clean water
One level teaspoon of salt
Eight level teaspoons of sugar
Stir the mixture till the sugar dissolves.

If you can manage a banana for the potassium, that's not a bad idea -- unless of course the novices have beaten you to all the bananas!


  1. I don't know about Jesus, but that would surely tempt me! You've created your own festal menu, I guess.

    I love berry syrup.

  2. I hadn't quite seen it as festal!
    Though I don't know that I'd toast with the oral rehydration solution -- it's pretty awful (though the alternative - a trip to the ER in the middle of the Exercises - was a lot more unappealing to me!!)