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Baking with Dorie: Little Bread Puddings

I must be in a mini-mood—I just looked over my posts from the past couple of weeks and saw that everything was baby-sized. And here's another "small enough to hold in the palm of your hand" recipe. This one is for little bread puddings made in 6-ounce custard cups or ramekins. (Although, now that I think about it, I bet you could make these in muffin cups or, better yet, silicone muffin cups.)

I like to make these with prunes and to flavor the brown-sugar custard with allspice, but they're just as good with dried apricots and ginger (see Playing Around). Whatever dried fruit you use, make sure that it's soft and plump before it goes into your mixture. If your fruit is hard, you can either soak it in some very hot water or steam it for a minute or so, a process called "plumping." In either case, make sure to pat the fruit dry before mixing it into the recipe.

Maybe when the weather is more spring-like, I'll start feeling more expansive and break out the BIG recipes. For now, I hope you enjoy these little babies.

Playing Around: Apricot-Ginger Little Bread Puddings: Replace the allspice with eight slices of peeled, fresh ginger, each the size of a quarter, and substitute an equal amount of plump dried apricots for the pitted prunes.

About the author: Dorie Greenspan is the author of several books on dessert, most recently Baking: From My Home to Yours. Dorie can also be found at DorieGreenspan.com and on the Bon Appétit website, where she is a special correspondent.

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