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~ Sour Cherry and White Chocolate Bread Pudding ~

IMG_9635I'm celebrating the July 4th weekend celebrating sour cherries!  

IMG_9348If you are an avid cook and/or baker, you too would be celebrating if you were me, because you know how special these cherries are to a foodie.  My husband presented me with 58 pounds of sour cherries, which he picked from our backyard cherry tree over the past weekend!

PICT0520Besides a couple of my ~ I can't Lie, this is Real Sour Cherry Pies ~ (recipe in Category 6), and, a big PICT0009batch of ~ 'Tis True:  Sour Cherries Do Make the Best Jam ~ (recipe in Categories 8, 9 & 22), I dried a few pounds of them too!  

IMG_9490~ Culinary Jewels: Dehydrated Sour Cherries ~ can be found in Categories 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 15 & 20, or, by clicking on the Related Article Link below!  

6a0120a8551282970b015391cb26eb970b-320wiA bit about bread pudding:  Sweet bread pudding is officially classified as a bread-based, baked dessert made with cubes or slices of bread that get saturated with a custardlike mixture of milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and spices. Every cuisine has a version because it is the invention of frugal cooks who wanted to find a use for leftover or stale bread!

IMG_4017Almost any type of bread can be used to make bread pudding (as long as it is 2-3 days old) including:  French-style baguettes, rustic Italian loaves, and, even quick breads, like banana bread.  That being said, my favorite is brioche (pictured in the above two photos), and you can find my recipe ~ Bread Machine Basics & My Brioche Recipe ~ in Categories 5, 15 & 18. 

Bread pudding, which is quick and easy to make, can be assembled and baked in any type of appropriately sized, 2-inch deep caserole dish (square, rectangular, round, oval, etc.), or, in individual ramekins.  Even though bread pudding is immediately associated with dessert, knowing how to make savory bread pudding as well, is a creative cook's best kept secret:

IMG_2753It is as versatile as quiche and can contain all sorts of meats, cheeses and vegetables ranging from asparagus to zucchini.  Pictured here is my recipe for ~ English Muffin, Sweet Sausage, Eggs & Cheese:  My Super-Simple, Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole ~. Assembly begins with a mixture of cubed English muffins and ends being drenched in a mixture of milk, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Technically, this is a savory bread pudding, and, you can find the recipe in Categories 9, 18 or 20!

Bread pudding is so easy, you "almost" don't need a recipe!

Today, I'm using fresh, pitted sour cherries in conjuction with dried sour cherries + some white 'chocolate' chips and toasted almonds too, to make one of my favorite bread pudding recipes:

IMG_95064  cups fresh, pitted sour "pie" cherries, macerated in:

4  tablespoons wild cherry brandy for 30-45 minutes.  Plus:

1/2  cup dried sour cherries

1/2  cup white 'chocolate' chips

1/2 cup lightly-toasted almonds

PICT0007This recipe is the perfect use for leftover brioche and for this recipe, you'll need between 16-20 ounces (1-1 1/4 pounds), or, half of a 2-pound loaf, sliced into 1/2" cubes. The bread must be 2-3 days old.

PICT0005I've kept this half loaf wrapped in plastic in my refrigerator with the full intention of making bread pudding!

PICT0002~ Step 1.  Line a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan with parchment paper and spray the inside of 8, deep, 2-cup ramekins with no-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

~ Step 2.  Pit and macerate the cherries in the brandy for 30-45 minutes.  Lightly toast the almonds in a 350 degree oven about 8-10 minutes, then cool to room temperature.  

Cube the bread as directed and pictured above and place about 3/4 cup of cubes in the bottom of each prepared ramekin.

IMG_9524 IMG_9530 IMG_9534~ Step 3.  Place 1/2 cup of cherries in each ramekin, followed by 1 tablespoon of dried cherries, 1 tablespoon 'chocolate' chips and 1 tablespoon almonds over the cherries.

IMG_9537Using a tablespoon, gently but firmly, press down on the top of each filled ramekin, to create a headspace for next layer of bread cubes.  I like to create 1/2"-3/4" of headspace.

IMG_9542~ Step 4. Top each ramekin with an additional 1/2 cup of bread cubes.

Note:  Because the bread is going to brown as it bakes, at this point I take a moment to turn as many cubes as possible crust side down. Cutting the crusts off the bread bread at the start is an option too! 

PICT0004~ Step 5.  In an 8-cup measuring container with a pourer spout, whisk together:

1  cup sugar

8  large eggs + 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream, at room temperature

2  teaspoons pure almond extract

2  teaspoons pure vanilla extract

PICT0008~ Step 6.  Slowly pour the egg mixture into the ramekins, giving it plenty of time to drizzle down through all the cracks and crevaces until it almost reaches the fill line/inside lip of each ramekin.

~ Step 7.  Set aside for 30-45 minutes.  During this time, occasionally press down on the tops to help the top bread cubes to absorb the custard mixture.

PICT0003~ Step 8.  Sprinkle Sugar 'n Cinnamon evenly over the tops of all.  Wipe any excess from the rim of each ramekin as you work.

~ Step 9.  Bake on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.  The bread pudding will be nicely browned, puffed up, oozing some cherry juices/custard, and, the pudding will be set.

Serve warm, with or without freshly whipped cream or ice cream.  Leftover bread pudding reheats nicely.  Cover with plastic wrap and gently reheat in the microwave!

IMG_9581Sour Cherry and White Chocolate Bread Pudding:  Recipe yields 8 hearty servings.

Special Equipment List:  17 1/2 x 12 1/2" baking pan; parchment paper; 8, 2-cup size ramekins; cutting board; serrated bread knife; 8-cup measuring container; whisk

PICT0001Cook's Note: Within the next week or two, Joe's highbush blueberry bushes are going to start gifting me with fruit too.  My recipe for ~ Blueberry Brioche Bread Pudding for Breakfast ~, can be found in Categories 5, 6, 9 or 20! 

IMG_2917~ Pumpkin Bread + Apples = Autumn Bread Pudding ~ can be found in Categories 5, 6, 9, 18 or 20! 

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)


Thank-you for the kind words Andrew, and, I will check out the home and garden site!

Your recipes are absolutely yum! Apart from that I love how you have given such a detailed description of everything. It makes life so much easier for a novice like me. In fact since you are such an avid cook, you can pick up some interesting things from as well. My Mom picks up a lot of her cooking equipment etc from here and she is delighted with them!

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