Last Sat night a group of Food 52'rs here in No. Calif came together to honor Amanda Hesser who was out here for her best selling new cookbook booksigning .The group of Food 52'rs put together a potluck based on recipes from Amanda's new cookbook which spans the era's. I was relegated to 1950's egg & olive canapes but was unable to find old standby Pepperidge Farm thin bread, thus needed to settle for a Whole Foods special order which saddly was mushroom shaped thus causing lots of bread waste. But no worries, since it gave way to my creating this Thanksgiving dessert alternative along with -Dried Cranberries , Belgium Chocolate & Custard. So Amanda in honor of having met you (and having held the very canape bread in your hands). Here's to you - Chocolate & Cranberry Creamy Custard Bread Pudding ! —micki barzilay
thin white tea bread broken into bite size pieces
sweet dried cranberries
bars of Trader Joe's Belgium Milk Chocolate Bars ( or similar) broken into pieces
Pre-heat oven to 350 -Tear or cut bread into small ( app 1 in cubes) and place in (app) 4 quart casserole oven -safe baking dish. In a saucepan heat milk on low heat. Break eggs into a bowl mixing till frothy. Add beaten egg to lukewarm milk and continue to stir till it begins to thicken to a custard consistancy. Pour custard mixture over the bread being sure to fully soak the bread ( you can gently press down bread with a fork so milk custard rises above the bread) . Evenly add in the dried sweet cranberries & broken pieces of chocolate ( saving a small handful to garnish with). Place on middle rack of oven and cook for 15 minutes then add uniformly remaining cranberry ,chocolate pieces, & butter and put back into the oven for another 15 min or so until custard and bread have united and is fully cooked, cranberries have plumped, chocolate and butter have melted . The perfect consistancy is when custard is cooked but still soft and fuses with the bread so once cooled and cut holds a perfect shape. You don't want runny nor hard...Here's to you Amanda- Congratulations you now also have a recipe in your honor ! And to everyone else Happy Thanksgiving.