And so, we come to the final part of the Father's Day trilogy. Sunday is supposed to be the REAL Father's Day, so I left dinner to the Big Leagues (Mom). Of course, it HAD to be steak, accompanied by leftover appetizers from Saturday and finished off with my all-American apple pie. I'd have to say that red meat is not very much my thing. I'll eat a little to keep my mom and her rants about me being malnutritioned at bay, but a big ol' hunk of steak is a bit too much for me. But I did eat a little, and I have to say that Mom sure knows how to cook her cow.
So anyway, I managed to secure my position in arranging breakfast...and I thought I'd try my hand at bread pudding. My dad usually loves French toast, and it was what I was aiming for, but in the end, it turns out the pudding didn't taste much like French toast. But oh well, at least it got rid of some of the giant bottle of rum Dad bought me long ago (I used to get away with not making him tiramisu by claiming that we had no rum in the house). And it was actually what I had been saving my braided brioche loaf for from last week. I'd have to say bread pudding takes a while to bake, but other than that, it's incredibly easy and great for getting rid of leftovers. Chances are you'll always have the ingredients on hand (except maybe the rum?), and it's actually very hard to really mess up.
But, anyhow, this was my epic Father's Day weekend, and despite all the craziness in the kitchen, it was worth spending time with Dad. What with me going to college, it's not often that we get to spend a lot of time together, and it doesn't seem like things will get any easier with both us living on opposite coasts of the U.S. It's true that we have our good times and bad times, but in the end, I always know how lucky I am to have him as my father.
Bread Pudding (adopted from Joy of Baking)
-9 - 10 cups of bread cubes/slices (preferably brioche, challah, croissants, panettone, or a richer kind of bread)
-1 1 /2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
-4 cups (960 ml) milk or cream
-2 tbsp rum or brandy (optional, but HIGHLY recommended)
-Banana slices, berries, apple slices, raisins, and/or chocolate chips (optional)
1. With a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on high for about 4-5 minutes.
2. Add in the vanilla and cinnamon.
3. Beat in the butter and milk/cream.
4. Arrange the bread slices and optional ingredients artfully in a lightly greased baking pan or casserole dish.
5. Carefully ladle the milk mixture into the dish until the bread pieces are completely covered.
6. Pour some hot water up to an inch or two into a larger shallow baking pan (you want to make a custard, so you need to provide a more comfortable environment for your creation. Thus, a water bath). Carefully place the bread pudding dish in the middle of the water-covered pan (the water bath should come to about halfway up the side of the casserole dish).
7. Bake at 300F for about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into the pudding comes out clean.
8. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy either hot with some ice cream or cold by itself.