Laura's brother made two fantastic foccacio breads-made me feel like I was back in Italy!
I met him last year in a Naples kitchen at a benefit. He's a wonderful friendly guy, and the kind that takes all secrets with him to the pearly gates, IYKWIM.
You can download his recipe and see the cooking video for free at:
|My Version of Delicious Bread and butter Pudding
The day before, buy or borrow a propane torch, for step 5, or set the sugar-topped casserole in the broiler for a couple minutes.
Step 1. Start the night before, soaking raisins overnight in Amaretto liquor, so they plump up. I used golden, rather than black raisins. Make a triple batch-one extra for the recipe, and the other for you to nibble upon while making this dish. Go ahead, you deserve it! Next time, I'll add extra Amaretto and raisins, so you can enjoy more mini-taste bursts.
Next, toast your slivered almonds in a pan over medium heat. tossing every so often. It only takes a few minutes to toast them, and just seconds more to burn them. Don't walk away, or they'll quickly burn, just for spite!
Get a baking pan with at least 3 1/2 inch tall sides or a larger aluminum pan ready, one that your casserole dish will fit into with room to spare. Be sure there's an inch or two of space around the dish, for the water bath to fit as well as your fingers. Otherwise, you'll not only overcook the dessert, but also have trouble removing it. Put the casserole dish in the larger pan, and add tap water until it is 1/2 way up the casserole's side. Remove the dish and keep the water in the baking pan-you'll use these in step 4.
Step 2. For the white bread, I recommend lightly toasting the 12 slices, just enought to firm them up, or, better, let them get stale over two days. Otherwise, the soft bread "shmooshes down" while slicing off the crust, and then dicing the soft innards into 1/2 inch pieces. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees now, so it warms up.
|Bread with Soused Golden Raisins
|Egg Yolks, Sugar and Vanilla Extract
|Egg topper, Topped Egg, and Yolk Separator
Crème brûlée " torches sold for $20-30. They don't have the same heat capacity, malfunction more often, are good for little else, and waste your money.(I'm not opinionated.) I torch the surface sugar in a circular motion, just till it turns golden to golden brown, and keep moving the flame around. Then I stop for a couple minutes to let the sugar melt, and give it another heat treatment, this time letting some areas get a little brown, and even burnt in tiny areas. A few lightly-burned areas are a good counterpoint to the sugar's sweetness. Let cool, and it'll form its solid crust. Add toasted almonds, then lightly sprinkle confectioner's sugar on top.
|Bread and Butter Pudding, One Portion Removed!