Here's some mouthwatering photos and the recipe for the evening's dessert. Served warm it tastes like French toast in paradise.
Photos (Lexi Van de Walle): Before and after cooking and on a plate
I enjoy coming up with creative recipes (or finding one in this case), where I use in season, local and farmers market produce in a non-regional dish. Taste is everything --- I've found the apples to be particularly juicy in New York this year and the sweet potatoes were really fresh.
Despite my husband Henry's protestations that sweet potatoes and apples don't belong in bread pudding and this recipe "couldn't be authentic" because there's no bourbon hard sauce (or raisins), he helped me with his method for prepping the French bread for bread pudding.
RECIPE (MODIFICATIONS courtesy of Henry)....
I add two small boxes of California raisins. And, after cubing the bread in 1" pieces, I made it "stale" by putting it in a 200 degree (F) oven for 15 minutes on a cookie sheet and letting it sit in the room to cool and become hard. I set aside several handfuls of bread, enough to cover the top, and put the rest of it in the egg mixture according to the recipe. After putting the mixture in the glass baking pan, I put the "dry bread" on top of the moistened bread providing a nice contrast of textures and a bit of crunch. The dry bread also soaks up the apple cider glaze. For the apple cider, I juiced apples from my CSA farm.
About the Food
Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Apple Cider Glaze
www.sweetpotato.com (Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups half & half
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 stick butter melted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
5 cups cubed French bread, lightly packed
Apple Cider Glaze (recipe follows)
Combine eggs, sugar, and brown sugar in large bowl; beat until smooth with a whisk. Add half & half, milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and grated sweet potato. Stir well. Add cubed French bread to egg mixture; stir until bread is well moistened. Cover and chill 30 minutes, stirring once. Preheat oven to 325º. Spoon bread mixture into a well greased 10-in. cast-iron skillet or a 7x11-in. baking dish. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick, inserted into the center, comes out clean. Serve warm with Apple Cider Glaze. Serves 6.
Apple Cider Glaze
1/2 stick butter
3 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. apple cider
2 tbsp. half & half
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring well. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Let stand 3 minutes. Serve warm.
The apples and eggs are from Chubby Bunny CSA
The bread is from Blue Duck Bakery in Southampton that I bought at the Westhampton Farmers Market
I made half and half with milk and heavy cream (Ronnybrook Farm Dairy) where I also got the butter.