"It's the season to be jolly." Bear that in mind.
The frenetic activity to make the season jolly sometimes wear me down so I always have to remind myself to choose the easy route. Sometimes less is more. Less fuss, more fun.
Easy and prepare ahead food is my lifesaver at Christmas. I do everything that can be done before Christmas so that all I have to do on the day is the turkey and trimmings. I can then have time to relax while the turkey is in the oven.
Dessert has to be something nice and easy. I saw Sunny Anderson on the show The Best Thing I Ever Ate feature a bread pudding with fruit cocktail in the mix and thought that that was a great idea. She said (and her eyes grew big when she said this), it was served in a pool of butter. Hmmm, good idea.
I can't remember what went into the mix so I just threw in everything I like and the result was a pudding that I really, really like. I've chosen to use cubed croissants which is more open in texture and has a firmer crumb than white bread. It soaked up the custard mixture well without turning into mush. Fruit cocktail added moistness as well as freshness. I've added candied citrus peel and sultanas for a Christmassy zing. For drizzle, an easy butterscotch sauce (not just butter) adds a decadent note to this simple pudding. Simple, easy and delicious. Jolly good!
(makes 6-8 servings)
5 medium eggs
2/3 c. double cream (heavy cream)
1 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. melted butter
200 gms. cubed croissants
1-415 gm. tin of fruit cocktail, drained
3 tbsps. sultanas
1 heaping tbsp. of candied citrus peel
10 maraschino cherries, halved
Whisk the eggs, cream, milk, sugar and half of the butter in a mixing bowl. Add in the croissants and stir. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir again. Set aside for at least 15 minutes for the liquid to soak into the bread.
Pre-heat the oven to 350° F/180° C.
The recipe makes just over a litre of pudding mixture. Choose a baking dish that can accommodate that. You can also make individual servings.
Grease your chosen container with butter. Pour in the pudding mixture. Tuck in the fruit bits so that they don't burn while baking. Bake for 40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a cocktail stick in the middle. It should be set and the stick should come out clean.
Increase the oven temperature to 400° F/200° C. Brush the top with the remaining butter. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the top is browned.
The pudding puffs up as it bakes but settles down as it cools.
(recipe from The Washington Post)
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. double cream
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Stir until the butter and sugar is melted. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
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