Saturday, October 13, 2012

Peanut Butter and Guava Jelly Bread Pudding

My culinary experiment this night was to dig up some nostalgic flavors and combine it with one of my favorite desserts to make and innovate: bread pudding. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

·         About 2 cups of a nice, crusty bread cut into small cubes, a little larger than crouton size (we get loaves of French bread daily down here)
·         1 cup of milk
·         2 heaping table spoons of peanut butter (acts as a binder, so you won’t need eggs)
·         2 table spoons of guava jelly (homemade by my grandmother)
·         1 level table spoon of sugar
·         1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (or another sweet spice preference)
·         1/4 teaspoon of black pepper (excellently heightens sweet flavors)
·         Pinch of salt (tiny pinch to balance sweetness)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Keep your bread cubes in a bowl that’s big enough to mix everything. A lot of folks make their bread pudding recipes with crumbier, older bread, but I hate the texture and consistency of the finished product in the end. Scoop in your peanut butter and guava jelly along with your dry ingredients. Add your milk slowly, mixing it in all the while. Use a regular table spoon to mix, and do it gently. You don’t want to lose too much of that nice cube structure of the bread or for it to become too soggy. A cup of milk may be too much in the end, so stop once it looks just mushy enough. The mixture should be soaked in milk, but not swimming in it.

Your ramekins should not be greased, but a very light application of cooking spray may be beneficial. Scoop your mush into the ramekins. The mixture won’t really rise so scoop it in right to the top. Depending on the size, you should be able to fill 2 or 3 ramekins with this recipe. Place your ramekins directly on the oven rack (a baking sheet may leave you with scorched bottoms for your bread pudding. Make sure they are stable on the rack and won’t fall over.

Bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. The tops should be a nice golden brown and have some slight charring on the edges when they are done. If you like them hot (which I recommend) let them cool for just a few minutes so that they are not scorching. One minute in front of a small fan should be perfect. Otherwise, refrigerate them for a few hours and serve cold (which is also very good for a late dessert).

Guava jelly may be hard for some of you to get your hands on. I recommend any other jelly with a more tangy or sour flavor to avoid the desert being overly sweet. Pineapple, passion fruit, orange, or quince jellies and jams make excellent substitutes. Some other interesting variations for this recipe are the “Elvis Bread Pudding” where you substitute sliced bananas for the jelly. The “Peanut Butter Cup Bread Pudding” is also excellent where you substitute some chopped dark chocolate (dark chocolate for a richer and more evident flavor, and it’s healthier) in place of the jelly. Enjoy!

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