Thursday, February 28, 2008

Almond French Bread

 Almond French Bread Pudding

I'm a comfort food kind of cook. I've lived in New England virtually my entire life and the region is reflected in my cooking. Bread pudding isn't considered very sexy; I've only seen it served in home-style restaurants, if it's even offered at all. Bread pudding was something that my mother made when we had stale french bread or had more milk than she knew we would drink "before it turned." I think it's time for a comeback.

Almond French Bread Pudding

About 18 (1/2" thick) slices French bread
1/2 c golden raisins
4 c milk
6 large eggs
1 1/2 c sugar
2 tblsp butter, melted
1/2 to 1 tsp almond extract
1/3 c whole almonds with skins, finely chopped

Heat oven to 350*F. Have ready a 12 x 9 baking dish and a large roasting pan or other pan large enough to hold the baking dish with room to add water around the outside edges.

Line bottom of baking dish with bread slices. Scatter the raisins; a few more would be good because it looks so abundant.

In a large bowl, whisk milk, eggs, sugar, butter and extract until blended. Pour evenly over bread and let it stand ten minutes for bread to absorb mixture. Scatter almonds over top.

Place baking dish in pan. Add hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of baking dish.

Bake 55-65 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove baking pan from water to a rack. Be very careful here, the water is bubbling! Serve pudding warm, at room temperature, or cold. A nice dollop of whipped cream is especially nice.