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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Cottage cheese-apple-pancakes

Pancakes are back! Well, where they ever really out? Nahhh, not really. Just took a break after a pancake overdose some time ago. And ironically enough, a holiday in the US, consuming a lot of breakfast-pancakes, was what made me want more! I had a lot of pancakes over there… When I´m in the states (sounds as if I go there regularly – but frankly, this is just my second visit! But I´ll be back, for sure! Love it!) I try to eat as american as possible, and by american I mean all the classic american stuff. And of course local specialites. Well, I try to do this whereever I go. When in Rome, right? (And when I actually was in Rome this summer, I indulged in risotto, pizzas, gelato….need I say more? But that´s another story!) So – I was in the states, and breakfast was not included in our hotel, so we went out for breakfast each day. And pancakes were always appealing to me – speaking to me – choose me, choose me! So I did. Over and over again. By the end of our holiday, I´ve had my decent pancake-share- Some really great, some mediocre pancakes, but most importantly, I remembered how tasty a pancake-breakfast can be. So, one week later, my jetlag was more or less gone, it was weekend, and my pancake cravings began. I gave in. Though, not the typical american classic kind. I tried to make them a little healthier, non-US-style! (But then again, I´m no longer in America, but in healthy whole-grain scandinavia, surrounded by health-freaks from my study. So I adapt, once again!) I bought some cottage cheese for some reason (I never eat it) and decided to use some of it for pancakes. Since I didn´t have blueberries or bananas and was to lazy to get out, and I was beginning to get a cold as a result from 10 days in Miami, and then back to cold Denmark, I had to make them without fruit or use what I had. I had half an apple, and decided to use that. Grated it into the batter. And then I was ready to make some pancakes! They turned out really moist because of the apple and cottage cheese, though the texture was a little different then the usual pancake. I also made them whole grain to make them a little healthier. And then I drenched them in butter and syrup….. Next time, I think I´ll go for the real thing though! But as a less-guilt-free pancake this is really good! And moist!
After a little research online, I had a certain idea of a recipe, and mine went something like this:

Cottage cheese-apple pancakes (about 10)

1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp syrup (I used agave, but maple or honey will do!)
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
Butter/oil for frying.

Puree the cottage cheese and eggs in a food processor for about 30 seconds. Add in the dry ingredients, then and pulse just until combined, and stir in the grated apple.

Preheat a griddle, skillet, or any flat bottomed pan on medium/low heat.

*The pancakes need to be cooked on a lower heat for a little longer than normal pancakes.

Add some butter to the pan if you’re pan isn’t non stick. If it is, you probably won’t need any addition butter to prevent sticking. Scoop the pancakes onto the preheated griddle and use the back of the scoop to spread the pancakes a bit. Cook for about 4 minutes per side.

*The outside of the pancakes will be a deep golden brown when they’re done, not a light golden brown. Serve with syrup and butter, bananas, berries or whatever you fancy!

Panna cotta with spiced apples

This is one classy dessert! Wow, I impress myself… I’m usually the more rustic, rough looking kind of desserts or food in general, so when I make that little extra effort, which actually is really little, I feel so proud. So of course I’m sharing it with you today!

I had this lovely dessert a couple of weeks ago at a friends house. We’ve started a little dinner-group, where one is hosts a 3 course dinner, and the rest bring the wine. It’s great fun, and a nice way to try new dishes, like this one. The appetizer was really good, so was the dinner, but we all agreed that the dessert was the highlight of the meal. And it looked quite fancy too. Like the dessertmaniac I devored it. I haven’t had that much panna cotta in my life, and the few times, I’ve found it a little boring. But this was perfectly paired with the spiced apples which balanced the neutral flavour of the panna cotta. Delicious. From that moment I was a panna cotta convert. I got the recipe, and now that I’m home on vacation, what better way to start off my days of freedom, and to finish off my first meal at home with my boyfriend, than with this fine thing? I believe the boyfriend was impressed. Like always, he’s in charge of dinner, and I’m the queen of desserts. And now I’ve added this to my repertoire! It’s nice to get some outside inspiration, cause I tend to get stuck in my old habits and food routines, but I’ll definetely be making this again! I actually think I’ll add it to my book of recipes… And that, is a sign of quality.


Panna cotta with spiced apples (4)

2 leaves of gelatine
1 vanillapod
1½ dl full cream 38%
5 tablespoons sugar
3 dl sour cream 9%

2 apples
3 tablespoons sugar
½ dl water
1 staranis
1 stick of cinnamon(4-6 cm)
½ ts ground cardamom

Soak the gelatine in cold water for 10 min. Cut the vanillapod and scrape out the seeds. Pour cream, sugar, vanillapod and seeds in a small pan, and bring to a boil while stirring. Remove pan from heat. Remove the gelatine from the water, and put it into the warm cream mixture. Stir til everything is dissolved, and pour in the sour cream. Divide the panna cotta in 4 glasses (a ca. 2 dl) and cover in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Spiced apples: Peel the apples and slice them thinly. Melt the sugar in a pan. Add water, staranis, cinnamon and cardamom and boil for about 2 minutes. Put the apples in the pan, and boil over low heat while stirring for about 4 min. Allow to cool completely.

Divide the apples onto the pannacottas and serve immediately.

Glutenfree apple cake

apple cake

Finally, the season’s first applecake was made. At least my first. I’ve been longing for this moment, but life got in the way, I guess. It’s a sure sign that summer is over, and autumn is upon us, when applecakes and other apple creations are being made around every other home. The sweet sweet smell of cinnamon and apples sneaking around the house, meaning apple cake is on its way sure is on my top list of why I love atumn! Together with the crisp air, that I get to wear my collection of scarfs, flea markets, Norwegian apples and plums, and of course staying inside baking and munching while the rain is pouring down! Ahh, nothing better than that.

Of course, apples are available all year round, but nothing compares to the crisp and tangy Norwegian apples that are to be found only this time of year. They are perfect on their own, but they are also ideal for baking. They have enough taste and sourness to them to survive the baking process and still remain tasty. I want to taste the apples too, not just the cake.

And I had the perfect apples for this. You see, there is a park close to where I live, with apple trees….. And nobody seems to pick those apples, so I did! I mean, public apple trees, means public apples, means the apples are meant for the public (me). So my conscience is clean! Even though I tried to hide the best I could. I am a grown woman after all, with my pockets bursting with apples. Ahem.

Anyway. They maybe weren’t all ripe, but that means even more taste. Stolen apples = baking. And I had a specific recipe in mind. Applecakes are always good, but I seemed to remember this as a really nice one from my glutenfree diet a year ago. So here’s my virgin apple cake for the season – let there be many more!

Ingredients
150 g real butter
150 sugar
3 eggs
250 g glutenfree flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
About 6 apples, depending their size

Mix butter and sugar well. You can easily use brown sugar – that’s even better!
Stir in one egg at a time.
Sift flour, bakingpowder and vanilla sugar, and stir into the mixture.
Pour the batter in a greased spring form.
Cut the apples in thin slices. Put them in a bowl with loads of sugar and cinnamon, and toss them around, making sure they are all covered in sweetness. Then press them down and into the batter, as many as you can.

Bake in a preheated oven set to 175 C for about 35 minutes.
(The recipe says 30 min, but the last time I made it the center was running, but this time, after 45 minutes, it was a little overbaked, so my best guess is 35-40 minutes, but keep an eye on it! Every oven is different.)

Serve lukewarm with whipped cream, watching the rain pouring down outside. And realize, autumn isn’t too bad after all.