Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Slow-Cooker Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

I have been making bread pudding in the oven for years.  Unfortunately, my oven is not working these days, so when a friend invited me over last night and asked me to bring dessert, I had to think of a way to make dessert without an oven.  I tried this, in my 6 quart slow cooker, and people raved about it!  One important tip:  bread pudding is only as good as the bread you use for it.  I make my own bread regularly in my breadmaker, and always have lots of stale bread (mostly whole grain) on hand that I cut up into cubes for things like this.  I suggest that you do the same, with whatever good bread you happen to consume.  If you start making it a habit, you can have a zip lock bag in the freezer to contain the stale bread cubes until you feel like making this dish. 

Serves 10-12

5 cups cubed stale bread
3 cups milk
1 stick (8 TBS) melted butter (I melt it in the microwave--just put in a bowl, cover and cook on high for about a minute; if not done, just stir and cook it for another 30 seconds)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup raisins or currants
3/4 cups chopped pecans
about 1 TBS butter for slow cooker, more if necessary

Soak bread in milk for 1/2 hour, pressing bread into milk so it is all moist.  Add melted butter and vanilla and stir.  Then add beaten eggs and mix all together well.  Add cinnamon, sea salt, raisins or currants and pecans and mix together well.  Rub butter inside of slow cooker to cover surface.  Pour bread mixture into slow cooker.  Cook on high for 1/2 hour, then reduce heat to low and cook for another 4 hours.

Caramel Sauce:
Mix 1 stick of butter (8TBS) with 1 1/2 cups brown sugar in sauce pan.  Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.  Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and continue to stir over heat until creamy and smooth.

To serve, scoop bread pudding onto a plate and spoon caramel sauce over.

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