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by Caitlin Saniga

Eggs Benedict bread pudding

I served this casserole for a brunch with friends, but it would be a perfect make-ahead dish for Easter morning. Just be sure to prepare the hollandaise sauce right before serving. If the sauce gets too thick, add about 1 tablespoon of hot water at a time until it thins to the desired consistency.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Day-old bread (or older) is best for bread pudding. The dryer the bread, the more egg mixture it absorbs. And use whatever leftover bread you have on hand. Some ideas: baguette, sourdough, rye, cornbread, etc. And kale, chard or beet greens can stand in for the spinach.

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the dish
  • 8 ounces dense bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used a sun-dried tomato bread from a local bakery.)
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a medium baking dish. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until dry but not browned. Let cool, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the spinach and 1/4 cup of the feta.

In another bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the mustard, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the eggs and beat until blended. Add the milk and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and stir until they are evenly moistened. Transfer the bread mixture to the baking dish and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.

Sprinkle the remaining feta on the bread pudding and bake in the center of the oven until risen and set, about 40 minutes. Turn on the broiler. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and broil until the bread pudding is golden and crispy on top, about 2 minutes. Scatter the oregano on top, cut into squares and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Food & Wine

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by Sarah Steimer

Shot of bourbon on the side is not optional.

For bread pudding

  • 4 cups cubed day-old French bread
  • 1/2 cup walnut or pecans, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups evaporated fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves or nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raisins (I used golden raisins)
  • 1/2 bar chocolate, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter

For bourbon sauce

  • 1/3 cup evaporated fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt

Spread bread cubes and nuts on a cookie sheet and bake, stirring a few times, at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk eggs and brown sugar in a large bowl. Blend in evaporated milk, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate and nutmeg. Stir the bread and nut mix into this, mixing so the bread is well-covered by the liquid. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Lightly coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray (I used a pie dish and just adjusted the recipe accordingly). Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar. Melt butter in a saucepan until it turns a light nutty brown (do not burn). Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.

No wonder the South is slow, if they're snacking on desserts like this and sippin' bourbon all day I don't blame them for taking a little extra time.

Pour the bread mixture into the prepared dish. Drizzle the butter over top and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar. Bake the pudding at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the center is firm. Increase the temperature to 425 degrees and bake for a few more minutes until the top is brown and puffed.

While the mixture cooks, place a mixing bowl, beaters and evaporated milk in the freezer to chill for about 20 minutes — do not skip this step! I only put it in for a few minutes and the milk didn’t beat as well so I had to pop it back in. Beat the milk in the chilled bowl until it is the consistency of whipped cream. Gradually add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, bourbon and yogurt until thickened. Serve the warm bread with the sauce.

FYI: If you don’t like bourbon, you aren’t going to like this.

Makes about eight servings.

Recipe adapted from: Eating Well on a Budget

Photos: Sarah Steimer

Baking tips:

  • It never hurts to experiment. I’ve never made or even eaten bread pudding before this recipe. Might be my new favorite dessert.
  • Everyone always stresses the importance of following baking recipes to a T. Forget that. Add what you want, take out what you want (short of completely changing the recipe and ruining your food, of course). Try to find good “base” recipes that you can add a twist to, like a basic sugar cookie or sweet bread.
  • Day-old bread is your baking friend. It makes the best bread pudding, French toast and croutons.

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