I haven't posted since Italy, I know. I also haven't made anything or been anywhere worth sharing (California aside) until now. I've had this baguette in my freezer for weeks and finally decided to put it to good use. Great use, actually.
Chai is one of my favorite drinks; the spices warm you from the inside out and it tastes both complex and indulgent, I'm convinced it's the cardamom. In order to magnify the indulgence I combined the chai with one of the most decadent dishes around: bread pudding. And if that wasn't enough, I made a ginger caramel sauce to top it off. When I tell you it's the best thing to come out of my kitchen in a LONG time it is not an exaggeration. I think there is potential to veganize it with some banana and coconut milk but that will be another experiment. Whether it's a frigid day in January or a stifling, humid one in July, this dish is sure to impress palates and stomachs alike. Until the next dish, ciao!
For the chai
1 black tea bag
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp clove, 1/3 tsp ginger, 1/3 tsp cardamom
Pour milk into a saucepan over low heat. Do not boil. After milk is warm (4-5min) add the teabag (I tie the string to the handle but this will depend on your pan) cinnamon stick, and spices. Let simmer another 5-7 minutes then remove from heat. Remove teabag and cinnamon stick.
For the bread pudding
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 baguette loaf, sliced into 1/2 inch size pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
Chai mixture (should be about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tbsp butter, plus extra for baking dish
4 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut (divided 2 and 2)
4tbsp slivered almonds (divided 2 and 2)
Preheat oven to 375F.
Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish and layer and layer baguette slices in rows. Cut the 2 tbsp of butter into small cubes and place them on baguette slices. One cube every few slices. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of the coconut and 2 tbsp of the almonds over the dry baguette slices.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the heavy cream, eggs, and sugar. Whisk together until mixture thickens. Add chai mixture and mix until combined. Pour mixture over slices, making sure all bread is touching and soaking up the mixture. Top with the remaining coconut and almond. Place in oven for 38 minutes, turning dish half way through for even browning. Remove and serve immediately. Top with caramel sauce. Will last 3 days in the refrigerator.
For the caramel sauce
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp heavy cream
½ tbsp crushed ginger
dash of vanilla
In a small bowl combine the heavy cream, ginger and vanilla. Let sit for 10 minutes
In a sauce pan melt the butter with brown sugar over low heat. When the sugar mixture has liquefied, add the cream mixture. Stir occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from heat, sauce will continue to thicken. Drizzle over bread pudding. Will last in a small airtight container for 5 days.