I love to be surprised by another new artistically crafted dessert that is original and breathtakingly beautiful. Some are so absolutely stunning and unusual that they really amount to works of art and one almost hates to destroy their beauty by eating them.
However I am equally as thrilled when someone digs into the old worn recipe box and comes up with an old-time favorite that is not necessarily glamorous or stellar in its presentation, but rather heartwarming in the way it satisfies one’s palette and leaves the eater feeling “cozy” and comforted.
That is why I was so pleased to learn that one of my oldest and most favorite dessert recipes was being revived and used for this coming week’s activity. It is a perfect accompaniment for the meal that is not elegant as much as wholesome and hearty. I know that the men are going to enjoy it as you will when you try it, and what a perfect time to make it while the rhubarb patch is at it’s peak.
Fresh Orange Rhubarb Betty
Fresh Orange Rhubarb Betty
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine sugar, flour, salt and ½ teaspoon orange peel.
- Stir in fruits.
- Add the 3 cups bread cubes and ¼ cup butter.
- Mix together and put into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
- Mix the remaining ½ teaspoon orange peel, the 1 cup bread cubes, the remaining ¼ cup butter and the coconut and sprinkle on top.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until tender.
- This recipe may be frozen for use later.
It is now Lent. And I should be writing about very Lenten things like soups and bread, not desserts. That will follow later in the season. I’m hoping to do my favorite beef mushroom barley soup in a couple of weeks. So even though a lot of us give up desserts for Lent, I’d like to share my recipe for bread pudding, which can double as a great and satisfying breakfast. It is so wonderful served up warm with whipped cream, or cut into shapes to serve as individual desserts, or as a great snack in the middle of the afternoon. I wanted to make it the way I remember us making it in the early days of the sisterhood, which was to mix up the cubes of bread with butter and cinnamon sugar before adding the eggs and milk or cream. We also used whatever bread was leftover and saved — white and whole wheat, rye… you name it when making the bread pudding. I do love a homemade white bread for this, and especially something like brioche, which I will sometimes make up in large batches and have in the freezer for this sort of use. But that did not happen for this bread pudding, so I was really happy to find a loaf of the cinnamon swirl bread that we gave as gifts for Christmas! But you can use just about any firm white bread for this.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter a 9 X 13 casserole.
- Place bread cubes in a large bowl, add melted butter and mix well.
- Mix together 1/2 cup of sugar and cinnamon, and add to bread cube mixture again mixing well, so all the cubes are coated.
- In another bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, milk, eggs, cream and vanilla, then stir into bread cube mixture.
- Pour all into prepared pan.
- Top with additional cinnamon sugar.
- Bake in 350 oven about 45 to 50 minutes and pudding is puffed and golden.
- Cool slightly. Can be served warm, or chilled and served cold.
- Top with whipped cream if desired.
We leave our leeks in the garden to enjoy through the winter months. I took advantage of the January thaw to pluck a few for inspiration. I love using things up in a creative way, and I remembered that I had a few bags of croutons in the freezer, left over from our “O Antiphon” Party at Christmas, where we had served up a hot cheese dip on hollowed out bread bowls. I immediately thought of a savory bread pudding. I also found some sauteed mushrooms in the freezer — a treasure! So I added a little celery, some eggs and cream, and voila! I had tonight’s side dish for a roast, or today’s lunch with a salad and crusty bread.
Savory Bread Pudding with Leeks and Mushrooms
Savory Bread Pudding With Leeks And Mushrooms
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish.
- Melt butter or bacon fat in large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add mushrooms, leeks, celery and saute until soft, about 10 to 12 minutes; add thyme and cook about a minute more until fragrant.
- In a large bowl, mix together bread cubes and vegetable mixture.
- Whisk together heavy cream, eggs, salt and ground pepper in another bowl.
- Mix custard into bread and vegetables, then transfer to prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle grated cheese over top.
- Bake pudding uncovered until set and top is golden, about 35 to 40 minutes.
By the time you read this, you have enjoyed your Thanksgiving celebration. I hope for all it was a special, blessed time, with lots of good fellowship and food! I am a nibbler on Thanksgiving — I never want to not have room for dessert at the end of the day. Actually, I think I could be happy with just turkey sandwiches on white bread with lots of Hellmann’s mayo and some cranberry chutney for my Thanksgiving meal. Another one of my most favorite sandwiches of the season is a ham, cheddar cheese, and apple carrot chutney on multi-grain bread. (Or bulkie rolls or white bread for that matter.) It makes a really good slider, too. You just pile it all together and put in the oven for about 15 minutes. This sandwich pairs well with Butternut Squash Soup.
Ham, Cheese and Chutney Sandwiches
Ham, Cheese And Chutney Sandwiches
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and mustard.
- Spread this mixture onto both sides of the bread.
- Pile ham onto half of the bread slices.
- Spoon on chutney according to taste preference, but make sure it is even so you get some in each bite!
- Next layer on your cheese, then the other slice of bread.
- Place on a baking sheet, and bake until cheese is melted, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Enjoy! (You can also pile onto toasted bulkie rolls, and bake open faced, placing the other half of the roll on the sandwich just before serving.)