My first bread pudding!

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It feels kind of wrong posting this now, on such a sunny spring day when I usually eat light summer food. The smell of cinnamon and baked apples, suddenly put me in an Christmas mood and (almost) longing for autumn! But there´s still a crispness to the air, which means that mornings and evenings are still cold, and best enjoyed with a sweet breakfast or dessert. Enter Bread Pudding!

Bread pudding is something that I´ve stumbled upon several times among my many English/American cookbooks, and certainly it´s been mentioned by Jamie and Nigella more than once when talking about comfort food. And I´ve seen pictures of this dessert-thing over and over, over the years. It always seemed intriguing to me, tempting in a comforting way, but not tempting in the way like chocolate, ice-cream, cheesecake or other desserts can do, so although I understood the concept and idea of this dessert, it never made it to the dessert table in my house, because of strong competition (and a chocoholic boyfriend). It wasn´t until a couple of years ago I finally actually got to try bread pudding, when me and boyfriend were eating out, and the menu was set, so no choices for us and no possibility to not choose bread pudding, if that should have appeared on the dessert menu. Luckily for us, it did, as bread pudding was the dessert on the menu that day and was served to us! Any other way, we would have missed out… We shared a mini loaf of bread pudding, and OMG, it was so extremely good! We scraped the bowl to get everything of the good stuff, and agreed it was the best thing on the menu that evening. Later, I got to thinking of baking this for myself and make my own version. Somehow, years went by, with no bread pudding being made. But a couple of days ago, a picture of bread pudding from my pie-book caught my eye. And a few days earlier I bought a sour dough bread which turned out to have ONE gigantic hole instead of the usually many few, making it difficult to use for spreads or fillings. So, what to do…? I don´t throw food, I get creative!

Croutons? Nah – boring. Plus, I don´t plan on having a salad where it could be used for the next days. French toast? Nah, that wouldn´t look good with that hole. But maybe something french-toast-like, like…. Bread Pudding! Yaaay! That´s what I´m making!

I´m glad I realized that this was an overnight project, because it´s oh so disappointing when your mind (sweet tooth) is set on something, and you don´t get it because “it needs time”. Since this was my first time doing this, i certaintly needed a recipe as a starting point. But since the recipe said 12-15 servings, and I´m only one (one person – though I definetely can take more than one serving…) I needed to adjust the amounts, and adding apple and the topping, I made my own version, and a very good one! The only problem was that I only had a family-sized baking dish, resulting in a not so tall bread pudding. But who cares – It´s my first bread pudding, cut me some slack. And besides, low height with a large surface equals more crispy topping!

Bread Pudding

120 grams sour dough bread

1 egg

50 g sugar

1 dl full cream

1.5 dl milk

1 apple

Topping:

10 g butter

20 g sugar

20 g oats

(Any white bread can be used, but I felt sour dough was perfect as the acidity balances out the sweetness. But if you want to go all in, for more sweetness, feel free to use whatever: toast-bread, brioche or leftover croissants or cinnamon-rolls, if such things exist!)

Instructions

Spray a 20×30 cm (9×13 inch) baking dish with nonstick spray.

Cut or tear the bread in cubes or chunks, and line your dish with one layer of bread cubes.
Cut the apple, and put it in a pan along with cinnamon, water and half the amount of sugar. Stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring. Remove from heat and spoon the filling onto the bread layer. It doesn’t have to be perfect, Just spread the apples about.Top the apple with another layer of bread and pack tightly.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, cream and vanilla. Whisk until well combined.
Pour mixture over the bread. Cover with foil and let chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.When ready to prepare, take bread out of the fridge and let rest on the counte.

Preheat oven to 150 C/ 350F.
Prepare the topping: Mix together butter, sugar, and oats. Spread over the top of the bread. Again, doesn’t have to be perfect.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until bread is fully toasted and eggs are set. Let cool for at least 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature, with cream, yoghurt or  ice cream if so inclined. Enjoy!

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Banana-coconut bread

I love banana bread.

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For various reasons:
1: Bananas
2: It´s called bread, but it´s actually a cake in disguise.
3: You can play around with it and add whatever, and it usually works!

Which means, to sum it up: you can make it as bread-like, or cake-like as you want, use different kinds of flour, wheat, spelt – whole grain or not, adding nuts chocolate or other things, even make it sugar free – and the banana bread can handle it!

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Banana bread is therefore very forgiving to work with, which is perfect for me as I have a hard time following a recipe to the point. I usually end up adapting it, intentionally or not, usually because I don´t have the exact ingredients on hand, and I´m too lazy to go out get it once my mind is set on baking.

This time however, I planned on following the recipe, as I found the pictures and description of the cake very intriguing. As all other recipes on this blog. Check it out! What made this different from other banana breads, was the caramelization of the bananas. Anything caramelized is just… better!
So that would be unchanged, that was for sure.
But somehow I ended up making my own version of the recipe, as I had some almond flour I wanted to use. And I usually try to make cakes more whole grain when I can, as I know I will be the one eating it sooner or later, the same thing about sugar: I often reduce the amount (so I can eat more 😉 and besides, for banana cake, a lot of sugar is usually not needed as the bananas themselves add alot of sweetnesss. Especially if you use brown bananas. The browner – the sweeter – the better!

I had a good amount of frozen brown bananas put aside for this cake, which finally could come togehter on a rainy sunday! I was a litte curious about the result, but even if the cake became somewhat diffrent then the original recipe, I thought it was delicious and a perfect afternoon treat! The banana-coconut flavour was a lovely combination even without the chocolate! I´m sure added chocolate would be lovely too, but without, you could always add some nutella or other chocolate spread if you get the cravings!

I allowed myself a decent slice with butter on top, because there no such thing as butter on freshly baked goods. Next time, I can try chocolate. But the cake on it´s own is perfectly good too! And actually quite healthy, after I twisted the recipe a litte around! Enjoy, one way or another, I´m sure it´ll be delicious either way!

Roasted banana and coconut cake – my way!
(Adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:
4-5 browned bananas
175 g flour/ 1 1/4 cups –
(I used about 75 g almound flour and all purpose/whole wheat flour)
50 grams/ 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
75 grams/ 1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 dl/ 1/3 cup canned coconut milk (may swap butter milk or greek yogurt)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (or swap canola oil – which I did)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50 grams / 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200 C or 400 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Peel the bananas and lay them flat on the baking sheet, and sprinkle with sugar. Roast them for 20-25 minutes or until the tops of the bananas are very golden brown and caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, mash the bananas and set aside. Reduce the oven temp to 175 C / 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9×5 loaf pan thoroughly with nonstick spray.

In a small bowl, combine the different flours, baking soda and salt, whisking thoroughly. Set aside.In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Add in coconut milk and canola oil, whisking until combined. Stir in mashed bananas and vanilla until mixed. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the toasted coconut. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining unsweetened coconut flakes.

Place loaf pan on a baking sheet and set in the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until center is set. If the top begins to brown, tent the bread with aluminum foil. Remove and let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Bread will keep (covered) for 3-5 days.

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Whole wheat blueberry rolls

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Long time no blogging. I know. Seriously a long time. And I can´t really blame life of getting in the way or something like that, as I´m ending my 2-months long summer holiday with no job, no – or very little studying and not really any good summer-weather either, “forcing” me outside… So there should have been plenty of opportunities to bake, cook and blog, but too much time makes me lazy… What can I say? The less I do, the less I….do. But now I´m back! Because I´ve really actually cooked and baked and eaten a lot of good food this summer, so I guess I ought to share some of it, and not keep it all to myself!

The last weeks, when there was several days in a row without rain (yeah, I know) I packed my blueberry-picker and went hunting. (Appearantly the picker is a somewhat Norwegian, or maybe scandinavian? thing, because it really attracts tourists!) I´ve had heard that the blueberry season was started, and some friends had already been having good luck finding berries, so I was pretty optimistic. But I have to say I was a little disappointed. There weren´t as many as previous years, and besides, they were small, but I thought to myself that a cold summer with a slow ripening process would produce even better berries, as the case is for strawberries. It wasn´t until some old ladies came along and spotted me and my picker in the woods, who also noticed the small size of the berries and claimed that they weren´t sweet, that I actually took a berry-tasting-test. I thought they might have said it to scare me off and have the berries to themselves, but they were right. The blueberries weren´t really sweet. Bummer. But I finished the surrounding blueberry bushes and started to walk home. On my way I came to talk with another guy curious about the berry situation, who asked about ripeness, size and flavour. When I said that they were pretty small and also a little sour, he said “Well, then it´s almost a complete waste of time!” And I wondered, was it? Did I spend so many hours for nothing? I would prove him wrong! These blueberries maybe aren´t the best for snacking, but put into baked goods in companionship with sugar and butter, that would probably make up for it! I made some jam right away, which was lovely, but now, it´s time to do some baking, I figured! Today I invited a friend over for coffee and something home-baked, so I figured it was a nice opportunity to use some of the berries. I finally made a decision on what to bake (my first intention was a blueberry bundt cake, eventually a pie – but as there was just the two of us, I figured it would be better with something in a serving size that also could be frozen) and landed on these blueberry rolls.

I was a little short of time, so I tweaked my single-rising yeast recipe, and adapted it to a more suitable number of rolls. I substituted most of the wheat with whole wheat, and used fresh blueberries, butter, sugar and marcipan for the filling. They turned out delicious! A little burned, but still good!

Whole wheat blueberry rolls

  • Prep time: 1 hour and 30 minutes (or more if you have the time)
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes
  • Total time: 2 hours

Ingredients – makes 12 rolls

  • 2 dl milk
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g powered sugar (which I replaced with regular sugar)
  • 30 g fresh yeast
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 500 g flour (I used about 3/4 whole wheat, and 1/4 regular wheat)
  • 2 dl blueberries
  • 50 g sugar
  • 50 g butter
  • 50 g marcipan

Instructions:

Bring milk, sugar and butter to a boil in a large pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool until it reaches a lukewarm temperature. You can speed up the cooling-down process by putting the pan in the zink filled with cold water. Add the yeast into the mixture, and stir in cardamom and the flour. (If the pan isn´t big enough, simply pour the milk-mixture into another bowl, and then add the flour) Knead the dough into an elastic large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour. (If you have them time, put the dough in a covered bowl, and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size – but the original recipe actually skips this point!)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Roll the risen/or unrisen dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 30×40 cm long and 1/2 cm thick. (The thinner you get it, the more area you have for filling, so that might have to be adjusted up or down accordingly if you roll it thicker or thinner)
To make filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl, mashing the berries slightly.
Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough.

(Whereever you go from here, is entirely up to you, whether you want to roll them like a cinnamon roll, or make them something like mine. I won´t say how I my rolls got their look, cause I did it wrong (again) and it turned out quite messy… If you´re like me, and cannot figure out the twisting, here´s an instruction video: How to twist a cinnamon-roll, or else, here´s how it goes)

Now fold a third of the dough towards the middle, and fold the other third over the first one, so you have 3 layers of dough. Cut the dough into 12-15 strips about 2 cm wide. Twist each strip until the dough stretches 20 cm long. Twist it around to shape it into a snail shell (roll) tugging the end of the dough under the roll Place the buns on a baking sheet covered with baking paper, with the twists facing upwards. Cover and let them rise to reach the double size for approximately 1 hour. Sprinkle the buns with sugar and chopped almonds. Bake them on 200 C for about 12-14 minutes or till they turn golden. Cool on a rack, or enjoy immediately, when they´re still warm and the filling is gooey…

Perfect to break apart and eat it bit by bit, making room for a zip of black coffee in between the bites! I love to eat them like that, getting a feeling of all the different textures and flavors. And the berries were perfect in these rolls! The buns turned out sweet and buttery, hearthy and filling because of the whole wheat, and the marcipan gave a lovely almondy flavour! I knew the berry picking wasn´t a waste!