Monday, June 24, 2013

Blueberry Bread Pudding with Spiced Blueberry Sauce

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From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Oregon is one of 21 states that still allow the sale of fireworks. The tents in which they are sold went up this weekend and that's a sure sign that the 4th of July is on its way. Their appearance also triggers a wash of memories of those times, when I, if not the world, was young. It's fair to say I have a special fondness for this holiday. It's probably born of time and place, but Independence Day, especially as it was celebrated in my childhood, has permanently reserved a spot in my recollections of how things were and probably should be. Forgotten are the wants a country at war could not provide, but remembered keenly are the festivities that were planned to make the day special. They began with a bicycle parade that roped its way through the streets of our community. We spent the prior day  festooning bikes and trikes with reams of streamers, each of us sure that our creation would win the coveted watermelon award. I suspect, in retrospect, they all looked pretty much the same, but somehow the judges always found a best of show and one "lucky duck" got to wear the crown for the day. While we'd check in for lunch, kids were pretty much left on their own and we swarmed through the neighborhood in packs, looking for things to make or do. We spent hours under the sprinkler, and, back then, punks, which the grown-ups used to light fireworks, were a big thing. We'd pretend to smoke them and use them to light something we called snakes. Snakes were small disks that would expand and crawl along the pavement when they were lit. They left smudgy stains on the pavement that would be visible for weeks after the holiday had passed and I've often wondered what archeologists would think if they came across those tracks eons later. Towards dusk the neighbors would gather for a communal picnic and stake out spots for the evening's fireworks. Barbecue had not yet captured the imagination of the nation, but there was fried chicken with all the fixin's and enough iced tea to float a battle ship. There was a pie-eating contest and watermelon galore. I must admit there were also seed-spitting contests and I was the proud winner of more than  a few. The capstone of the day was, of course, the fireworks display, but what I most fondly remember were the sparklers that we got to light and hold before the show began. I had a runaway imagination and I was sure that this was how space looked when a new star was born. Astronomers needed telescopes to see what I held in my hand. The wonder and sweetness of it all!

Now, it is impossible to have an Independence Day celebration without blueberries. By now everyone knows that on the 4th of July blueberries are more American than apple pie. I have dozens of recipes that use them and I am always on the lookout for one more. I found another last week on the Driscoll's Berry website. It is a keeper of the first magnitude and one that I am happy to share with you. The recipe is straight forward and the bread pudding is absolutely delicious, with or without the sauce. I hope you'll give this recipe a try. I promise you will not regret it. Here's how the pudding is made.

Blueberry Bread Pudding with Spiced Blueberry Sauce...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Driscoll's Berries

Bread Pudding
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 loaf Italian bread (1 pound)
6 large eggs
5 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups blueberries
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
Spiced Blueberry Sauce
2 cups blueberries, divided
1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
3/4 cups water

Directions for Bread Pudding:
1)  Butter six individual 8-ounce ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter; set aside.
2)  Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice bread into 1/2-inch slides and place on a cookie sheet. Toast 10 minutes, turning bread slices over once. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and place in a large bowl.
3)  Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter and drizzle over cubes, toss until evenly coated, set aside.
4)  Whisk eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes and stir until evenly moistened. Stir in blueberries. Spoon mixture into ramekins. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
5)  Place ramekins in a large roasting pan. Add boiling water to halfway up sides of ramekins.
Bake 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. (Cover with foil if browning too quickly during baking.) Cool slightly. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with warm Spiced Blueberry Sauce, if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Directions for Spiced Blueberry Sauce:
1)  Purée 1 cup blueberries in a food processor or blender until smooth.
2)  Stir sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and cardamom in a small saucepan until blended. Add blueberry puree and water.Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat stir in remaining blueberries and lemon juice. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

One Year Ago Today: Lemon-Glazed Blueberry Cake

Two Years Ago Today: Rhubarb Custard Pie

Three years Ago Today: Deviled Eggs with Curry and Cilantro

Four Years Ago Today: Buttermilk Tarts


Foodycat said...

You make it sound like such a wonderful holiday! I can just picture it.

Dianne @ Sweet Journey Home said...

Beautiful post! The Fourth of July was Mama's birthday and there was always a celebration on that day. I remember strawberries and blueberries on a wonderful cake with homemade ice cream. I love bread pudding and will definitely be making this one! Thanks for the memories...

decocinasytacones said...

In Spain nobody can buy fireworks if you´re under 18, but.....(there´s always one), our teenagers go to France (which is 15 minutes away from San Sebastián by train) and buy them there, so our fireworks were yest with the San Juan night when we light fires, in parks, gardens and beaches.
Have a great pre-holiday....
I´m in the south of Spain now.

Susan Lindquist said...

Yup! the 4th was the topper holiday (after Christmas)for me during my growing up years! We, too, had a ball in the neighborhood gang during the day and then gathered for fun fireworks in the evening! Such memories!

This blueberry bread pudding is a perfect dessert to contribute to a big picnic affair!

David said...

Mary, I love blueberries and I love bread pudding! This dessert looks luscious... Thanks for the recipe. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Pam said...

Love your trip down memory lane! And I love adding this recipe to my collection of bread puddings - one of my favorite desserts!

Joanne said...

Fruit in bread pudding is the best! Love the sound of this!

Ginny said...

How much more perfect could you get with a Fourth Of July meal?

Alessandra said...

Here they allow the sale of fireworks only on the 5 of November, and then city council do some for New Year, I guess that some people do buy them on 5 november and keep them... once I heard some for July 4, maybe some America immigrants having a party :-).

I love to read about all the blueberries recipes that around US blog this time of the year.


Linda A. Thompson-Ditch said...

That recipe sounds delicious for the spiced sauce alone! Can't wait to try it.

bellini said...

This sounds like such an amazing dish with the double whammy of blueberries.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Blueberry season is just around the corner here. I, too, can't imagine the 4th without blueberries, and can't wait to try this lovely bread pudding. For me it's even better than the barbecue!

Ramakant Pradhan said...

Nice post. The pudding looks quite mouth-watering.

Tender b. said...

If it is sweet and says blueberries, I'm there.

An Eye for Detail said...

I love bread pudding in just about any form! Going to star this one and hopefully make it very soon: thanks!

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