What really sets Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O'Dea apart from other slow cooker cookbooks is the span of recipes. O'Dea includes many slow cooker classics such as stews, soups, and braises, but she also includes many recipes that one would never attempt to make using this method. O'Dea has come up with over 20 dessert recipes, pretty incredible since the thought of making anything sweet in a Crock-Pot has never even crossed my mind, and like the rest of the recipes in her book, the desserts are gluten-free.
This recipe for Bread Pudding is one of the most unlikely of the bunch. Gluten-free bread pudding made in a slow cooker? It sounds insane, but the slow cooker makes perfect sense. The slow cooking gives the milk enough time to really soak into the bread, leaving it creamy and infused with vanilla and cinnamon, and the external heat gives the pudding a nicely browned crust. Of course, there is the added bonus of making a dessert that will be ready to eat by the time you get home from work, and who doesn't like the sound of that?
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 slices thick bread (I used brown rice bread), cubed
- 1/4 cup dried raisins or cranberries
- Butter, for greasing the stoneware
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar (optional)
Use a 2-quart slow cooker. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Add bread cubes. Stir in the dried fruit. Pour the mixture into a greased stoneware insert. Cover (no need to prop open lid) and cook on low for 3 to 5 hours, or on high for 2 to 3 hours. Your bread pudding is finished when the top has browned, and you can push on the pieces of bread without too much liquid squirting out. If desired, add raw sugar to the very top and caramelize with a kitchen torch.