Monday, December 28, 2009
O Christmas Treats
If you didn't reach your sugar intake quota over Christmas, this ought to do it. I spent the long weekend in a sweet-tooth cycle of baking and eating. My favorite results of the culinary efforts were a rich and delicious panettone bread pudding and some craveable peppermint bark.
This panettone bread pudding is being permanently added to my holiday dessert repertoire. I liked it the first day and loved it the second, and the amaretto sauce is pure heaven.
Panettone Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce
Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup amaretto liqueur
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 (1-pound) loaf panettone bread, crusts trimmed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds
To make the sauce: Bring the cream, milk, and sugar to a boil in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. In a small bowl, mix the amaretto and cornstarch to blend and then whisk into the cream mixture. Simmer over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Set aside and keep warm. (The amaretto sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before serving.)
To make the bread pudding: Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange the bread cubes in the prepared dish. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar to blend. Pour the custard over the bread cubes, and press the bread cubes gently to submerge. Let stand for 30 minutes, occasionally pressing the bread cubes into the custard mixture. (Recipe can be prepared up to this point 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Sprinkle sliced almonds over the top. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until the pudding puffs and is set in the center, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly. Spoon the bread pudding into bowls, drizzle with the warm amaretto sauce, and serve.
The peppermint bark was surprisingly fun to make -- sign me up for any recipes involving a hammer. It's just the most simple, pleasant, Christmas-y candy and would make a great gift (next year). I've been eating my batch piece by piece all weekend.
Recipe adapted from Paula Deen
Crushed candy canes, to yield 1 cup
2 pounds white chocolate
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, optional
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
Place candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Add peppermint extract to the white chocolate if desired. Pour white chocolate onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper. Spread evenly with spatula. Melt 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and drizzle over the white chocolate. Sprinkle crushed candy canes over melted chocolate. Place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle.)
Hope your holiday was as sweet as mine!