Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Illinois Marathon Edition + Super Sweet Carbo Celebrating

It's Illinois Marathon weekend here in the bustling microurban community of Champaign-Urbana. Last year, our family was deeply involved: Sean ran the full marathon, I ran the 5K, and Finn participated in the Youth Run. Although Finn was the only one of us to participate in a race this year, we still kept busy watching races and cheering on friends and neighbors. It was a super fun weekend, with 20,000 runners participating in six different races and lots of opportunities to get involved.

The Youth Run is a 1K race that starts in the southeast corner of our football stadium, skirts three sides of the perimeter, then ends on the 50 yard line. Last year, at age 3 1/2, Finn sort of half-heartedly loped along, picking up sticks on the way while I encouraged him to keep going. This year, he sprinted and I raced to keep up with him. I was crazy proud of his enthusiasm and energy.

It seemed only right to have a bonus dessert night this weekend after all his hard work, and Sean came up with the brilliant idea of making bread pudding. I had defrosted a loaf of my Easter bread the day before and we still had quite a bit left; the other ingredients were all things we had around the house, so with a quick recipe search and about ten minutes preparation, I threw together this incredibly delicious evening treat for our little runner (and his family).

The sauce has brandy in it, and since my kids were plenty tired without having any alcohol, I scooped a couple spoonfuls into their bowls before adding the liquor. Also, the original recipe calls for Italian bread, allowed to get stale overnight. I think any bread that was somewhat dense would work just fine. I used the anise bread which wasn't stale and frankly it was off the charts good. My proportions halve those in the original recipe as we didn't need 8 to 10 servings, but you could easily double it for a crowd and prepare it in a 9x13 pan.

Bread Pudding
Adapted from Paula Deen
Yield 4-6 servings

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large beaten eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed Italian bread, allow to stale overnight in a bowl
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans 
For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 egg, beaten (do your best)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. brandy (whiskey would also work)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.

Mix together granulated sugar, eggs, and milk in a bowl; add vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, butter, and pecans.

Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.

For the sauce:
Mix together the granulated sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir together until the sugar is melted. Add the brandy, stirring well. Pour over bread pudding. Serve warm or cold.


1 comment:

  1. I'm gonna try it! We've been dreaming about Bread Pudding.