Saturday, October 31, 2009

Birds, beets, beans, chocolate bread pudding, and buying big appliances

October has been an incredibly busy month, including getting sick, participating in the inaugural meeting of WRAPSC, the Walkable Rotating Assigned Potluck Supper Club that had a Cowboy theme, settling the big case I'd been working on for the past year, setting on the Indian theme for the second meeting of WRAPSC (which I'm hosting), Canadian Thanksgiving with a 27 lb bird (pictured to the left with a 15 month old girl, Katherine), coordinating carpenters to build a new porch, electrician to install a new electrical panel, and contractors to reside out house, attempting to perfect beans from scratch, and hosting out-of-town guests (which includes cooking three squares a day). Oh, and all that cooking and doing on a standard 4 burner gas range by GE. Matt doesn't see the value of the 44" 6-burner, dual fuel, double convection oven, with separate broiler oven wine-colored enamel range. But he's not the one who does all the cooking around here. So he has conceded that the matching mega Vent-a-hood that comes with it would mean he would no longer have to come into a smoky kitchen, and that the nifty counter-depth fridge (also matching) would mean no one would ever have to reach way back into the depths to find missing leftovers or olives or whatever.

But I digress. People have been asking for recipes... here's one in its finest glory.

Pistachio Chocolate Bread Pudding (sorry, no photos... it got eaten too quickly)
Serves 8-10


  • 1/2 pound French or Italian bread (approx. 1/2 loaf), cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua or other coffee-flavored liqueur
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons pistachio extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
  • 1/2 cup roasted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
  • Whipped cream with pinch of sugar and a couple drops of pistachio extract (optional)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the bread in a 9" x 6" dish. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, and liqueur. Using another bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder and mix well. Add the sugar mixture to the milk mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla and pistachio extract, and cinnamon to the beaten eggs. Combine the egg mixture to the milk mixture and mix well.

Stir the grated chocolate into the mixture. Pour the mixture over the cubed bread in the pan. Let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally for 10-20 minutes or until bread absorbs most of the milk mixture. Sprinkle chopped pistachios over the mixture. Bake pudding for 50 minutes or until set. Check pudding by inserting a knife through the middle and it should come out clean

Serve the pudding warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled with whipped cream if desired.