Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Recently it occurred to me the importance writing had in my life. I was in Logan airport heading out to the Denver/Boulder area for a quick visit, when I suddenly found myself in a state of panic - I had forgotten to pack a journal in my carry-on bag! I was going to be on a plane for 4 hours with nothing to write on. I had to think quick - was there anything else in my bag I could at least use as scratch paper if I needed to? No. Did I even have a pen in my bag? No. Maybe if I felt the urge, I could just type some notes into my iPhone or iPad. I tried to imagine that. No, that would just not suffice. Before I went through security, I found a bookstore where I purchased a package of 2 pocket-sized turquoise colored Moleskin writing pads and a nice pen and stored them away in my backpack. Aaaaah. Much better.
I began thinking about the role writing played in my life. It's not something I do in a very serious way, nor am I very good at it, but it's hard to think of my life without it. My first diary entry is from December 24, 1977 when I was 8 years old and I've kept some form of a journal ever since. There have been times when I've written more than others, and gaps of time when I haven't recorded much, but it's always been an outlet for me. I use writing to sort things out in my mind. I find I journal more when I'm feeling down, and also when I travel.
Recently, I've considered trying to be a little more disciplined about it, and maybe writing a bit every day, but not just about whatever is going on in my mind. I'd like to try my hand at some fiction. I probably mentioned I took a children's book writing and publishing class that I loved. I still have a manuscript I pull out every so often and make some changes too. I also found a writing class at the local Adult Education program that I almost took this Fall, but decided to hold off til winter.
In the meantime, I recently tried once again to do something I've proven not to be good at - baking. But this time, it wasn't awful. While I was perusing recipes for Thanksgiving ideas, I came across this one for Pumpkin Bread Pudding. Given bread pudding is one dessert that I do like quite a bit, I thought I'd give it a go. I made a few adjustments, but stuck to the recipe the best I could and the results were quite tasty. Vegans and anyone with a heart condition beware - this is not a recipe for you. This may be one of the more fat laden recipes I've ever made. And, as if there wasn't enough dairy already in the recipe, we had leftovers last night topped with some vanilla ice cream. Thank you, cows.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
8 oz of French bread, torn into small pieces, about 5 cups (I used quite a bit more bread - about 80% of a 16 oz loaf)
2 cups half and half, or half milk and half cream
3 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 cup dried cranberries
3 tblspns melted butter
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn ground nutmeg
1/2 tspn ground ginger
1 tspn vanilla

1. Heat oven to 350. Butter an 11X7 inch baking dish. (I used a bigger baking dish since I used more bread. I also added a little more milk and a tad more sugar and cranberries.)
2. In a bowl, cover the torn bread with the half and half. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, combine eggs, sugars, pumpkin, craberries, melted butter, spices and vanilla. Blend well.
4. Pour egg mixture in with bread mixture and blend.
5. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until set.

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