Disasters! How I dislike this D word, particularly in my kitchen! My first ever baking disaster was when I baked a chocolate cake for hubby's birthday. I had got my shining new OTG. My son was then in his terrible two's and I stayed up late in the night so that I could bake after he slept. The delicious chocolate cake batter chose to overflow, causing a bit of mess and a lot of heart-ache. Wrong size pan obviously. Hubby gamely ate the remnants of his good-but-almost-not-there birthday cake in the tin. Then it was my son's birthday and Bird Flu had created quite a scare. New baker me wanted to bake an egg less cake. Back then, we did not have a computer at home. Internet was alien to me (yes, people like me DO exist!) and I did not know anybody who baked. So you can imagine. I baked an egg-less cake which turned out to be a REAL disaster. And I had the gall to bake it the same day as the party! The cake was as dense as a brick, no make it 2 -3 bricks laid side-by-side. We lit the candles, blew them and then the cake went straight to where it belonged - the trash can. My friends still tease me about that cake. Thankfully, sister-in-law had got a Coffee Walnut cake from Sweet Chariot as one of her surprises for the relieved birthday boy.
My latest disaster was when I tried my hand at baking a brioche. The brioche did not rise as tall as it was supposed to and it developed a gaping horizontal crevice as it baked. Ignorant me did not think much about it. The crust was a beautiful brown and my thermometer read the right temperature. I was so happy, was almost ready gathering my props for the pictures. But I first had to tell about this to my teacher. But she pulled the ground beneath my feet when she said that sweet rich breads NEVER split. I had gone wrong somewhere. However there was nothing else very drastically wrong with it, taste-wise fine, a bit dry though. A few slices disappeared as French Toast and a few got stashed into the freezer. One disaster a base for a better dessert?
A Nutella pudding had to be made before the contents of the jar disappeared magically on its own. I know, this is not by far the most beautiful looking pudding ever. But it certainly was good! Nutella spread on slices of brioche, soaked in a rich custard sauce and baked. Is there anything to not like about it?
Recipe adapted from Susan's Wild Yeast, original recipe from Epicurious. I have made a couple of small changes as the cream I used was sweetened and I was adding Nutella too. I personally find Nutella a little too sweet, so I have not used a whole lot of it. You could use more to your taste, add sugar as and if needed. The original recipe has Amaretto added to it.
You could bake this in a pudding dish or individual ramekins, in which case the baking time would vary. You would also need to cube the bread slices.
Brioche Slices, stale - 6
Eggs - 4, large
Whipping cream, mine is sweetened - 1 Cup
Milk - 1 Cup ( I used 2%)
Sugar - 1/3 cup
Vanilla extract - 1.5 teaspoons
Almond extract - 1/8 teaspoon
Nutella - 2 tablespoons
Procedure: Butter an 8'' square pudding dish. Reserve half a slice.(You could also trim the crusts and reserve them instead) Spread the Nutella on the rest of the slices of brioche. Cut the slices diagonally. Arrange them in the dish so that the peaks show neatly. Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Add the cream, milk, sugar and the extracts. Whisk well to combine. Pour this over the slices of brioche. Use a spoon to push the bread slices to soak the custard. Let stand for about 40 minutes. (At this point, you could cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours). Occasionally press down the slices into the custard or spoon the custard over the slices. While the bread is soaking, bake the crusts or the reserved bread cubes in an oven pre-heated to 180 degrees C / 350 degree F, for about 10 minutes or till dry. Maintain oven temperature. Once done, process them in your food processor to get fine crumbs. Reserve.
Sprinkle the crumbs over the pudding. I over did this part, hence my pudding lost that Nutella top! Prepare a water-bath. I have used my 12'' round tin for this. Use any dish which can easily fit your pudding dish. Place a clean kitchen towel (a small thin one preferably, a thick one may raise the height too much) in the bigger tin. Place the pudding dish on it. Carefully pour enough hot water in the larger dish such that the water is halfway up the sides of the pudding dish. The water bath offers protection against the custard curdling as it bakes.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or till a tooth-pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Check at 45 minutes. If you press down on the top of the pudding, the custard should not come up. This means that the pudding is done. If any custard comes up, you need bake a little longer. The above baking tips are from Stephanie's Joy Of Baking.
Remove the pudding from the water bath. Serve the pudding warn with a dusting of vanilla sugar if you wish.
The pudding was good warm and not too sweet, the top crispy and soft creamy custard underneath. Makes a simple but delicious dessert on a cool day. What better a way to use up left-over stale bread or not-perfect brioche!