Thursday, June 16, 2011

Heavenly Coconut Bread Pudding

The kids are in summer school in the mornings this week, so today I pretended I'm one of those moms who goes out to the fancy grocery store (Fresh Market for me) for some supplies and whips up something fabulous for her family while they're out in the world. I say 'pretended' because yesterday I stayed home and watched "Gilmore Girls" season 5 on DVD while eating Baked Lay's right out of the bag. (Hooray, they're gluten free!)

But for today in my fancy world...I'm craving coconut...and bread pudding. Why not put them together? Genius. I'm not the first person to think of this combo, I am sure, but what a delicious pairing. Top it with some real whipped cream and crunchy toasted coconut and you can't do much better whether you're eating gluten free or a wheat-eater. If you're the latter, I give you permission to use some brioche instead of the gf bread and you're at the doorstep of heaven. I'll be intensely jealous of you for a minute, but I'll be eating that in heaven, believe you me. For now, this will more than suffice. Beware--this is gluten free...not fat free, sugar free or cholesterol free!

Coconut Bread Pudding

1 loaf of your favorite gf bread (crust removed), cut into 1-inch dice (about 8 oz.)
     (I used Ener-G light tapioca loaf from my stash.) 
1.5 cups heavy cream
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen brand.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
2 whole large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup sweetened coconut (I use Baker's.)
    (Toast at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Watch it--it burns easily. Set aside.)

1. Preheat over to 325 degrees F.
2. In a saucepan over high heat, combine heavy cream, coconut milk and sugar. Bring to a simmer. Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves completely.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolk.
4. Whisk the milk mixture into the eggs slowly so the eggs don't scramble. 
5. Place bread cubes in greased 8x8 baking dish. Pour custard mixture over bread, pushing down on the bread to make sure it is all submerged in the custard. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. You may need to continue to press down the bread--you want it to really soak up the custard.
6. Place baking dish with bread mixture in it into a larger pan and pour warm water into larger pan, half way up the sides of the smaller baking dish to make a water bath. (This will ensure your pudding doesn't dry out.)
7. Place in 325 F preheated oven and bake 30-35 minutes or until it puffs a bit and the center is just set. I think it's best at room temperature--if you can wait that long!

Top the bread pudding with a dollop of real whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut. (Add some lime zest to your whipped cream for a pop of color and fresh island flavor.) Serve!

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