Author Archives: hfletcher

Orange Date Bread Pudding

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Orange Date Bread Pudding

Orange Date Bread Pudding came about as a result of a bread pudding I was asked to make at the restaurant.  I found it to be bland and not too exciting which to be perfectly frank, I find with a lot of bread puddings.

So, I decided to alter the situation and for some reason oranges and dates came up.  It is a favorite combination of mine and it really works in this bread pudding.  I use the oranges two different ways to enhance the flavor.  I use the zest but also my candied orange peel.  It takes no time at all to use my recipe for the peel but you need to make it at least a day ahead.  You can also use purchased candied oranges but the texture will be a bit different.

The dates add a natural sweetness as well as some texture.  While they come chopped, I prefer to used medjool dates that are whole and chop them.  They are sweeter and are more moist.

The Importance of the Bread for the Orange Date Bread Pudding

One of the main reasons bread puddings can be rather bland is the type of bread used.  While it is true that any stale bread is a candidate, the more flavorful the bread the better the result.

To that end, I remembered I had some of my Pillowy Soft Dinner Rolls in the freezer and they did the trick. Pillowy Soft Dinner RollsBrioche, Challah, or a good homemade bread works well here.  The bread should be cut into 3/4” to 1” cubes for best results.Bread cubed

Whatever bread is used, it should be cut into cubes and needs to be moderately dried so it can accept the liquid in which it is soaked.  If the bread is too fresh, it will turn to mush and that is not desirable.  I usually place the bread cubes on a rimmed pan and allow them to dry overnight, turning them several times.  They can also be dried in a 350°F oven but should be watched so they don’t become croutons.  That’s not the aim here.

Soaking the Bread

 Recipes often ask for milk and heavy cream.  It’s easier to just use half and half for the entire amount.

There is no hard and fast rule as to how long the bread soaks.  It depends upon how moist or dry the bread was to begin with.  Dense breads will take longer and softer breads will take less time.  But the bread needs to soak all the way through without turning to mush.  I also try not to use crumbs because they can’t hold a shape and contribute to mushiness.

Bread Puddings are quick to make.  I prefer them as individual servings and use Texas muffin cups as molds.

The wonderful thing about this Orange Date Bread Pudding is that the ingredients are guides.  A little less or a little more won’t alter the outcome.

Hard Sauce

Hard Sauce is the traditional finish to bread pudding and I have used it for the Orange Date Bread Pudding.  It basically just booze, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla.  Substitute water or milk if you choose.

Orange Date Bread PuddingIngredients for the Orange Date Bread Pudding

 1/2 pound bread (225 grams, 8 ounces or 6 cups)
1/2 cup dates, chopped (70 grams or about 2 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup candied orange peel (preferably mine) [85 grams or 3 ounces]
1 3/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
Zest of 1 small orange
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cut the bread into 3/4” to 1” cubes and moderately dry it.  This could take a couple of hours or overnight depending upon the density of the bread.  Stir several times to make sure it is drying evenly. Or, dry it in the oven as mentioned above.Bread on Tray for Orange Date Bread Pudding

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Spray the 6 Texas muffin cups with a non-stick baking release.  Set aside.

Cut the dates and set aside.  This is more easily done with a pair of scissors than a knife.

Dice the orange rind in about 1/4” pieces.  Mix these with the dates. Set aside.

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl.  Combine the eggs, half and half, brown sugar, vanilla, orange rind and salt.  Pour it over the bread cubes.  Push the cubes under the liquid.  In reality, they will keep popping up to the top, so stir frequently to make sure they are getting uniformly soaked.

When most of the liquid is gone, stir in the dates and candied orange rind.  Fruit and bread for Orange Date Bread Pudding

Bread and fruit mixedFill the muffin cups almost to the top.  I got 5 filled as described and then one that was only 1/3 full.  But they are rather skimpy if you divide it between 6 cups.

Bread Pudding in Muffin Cups

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until set and a cake tester comes out clean.  They will be golden brown. Baked Orange Date Bread Pudding

Hard Sauce or the Orange Date Bread Pudding

1 cup powdered sugar (130 grams or about 4 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons really soft butter (30 grams or 1 ounce)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon of brandy, rum or whiskey
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Stir all together until smooth.  Adjust the thickness by adding more powder sugar if too loose or a bit of water or milk if too tight.

The sauce can be made ahead.  Cover directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Warm in a convection over or over low heat to return it to a saucy state.  Do not overheat or the it may break. This  Orange Date Bread Pudding may be made ahead and refrigerated.  Cover them with foil and place  in a 350° oven for 10 to 15 to warm through.

Orange Date Bread Pudding with Hard Sauce on the side.

You might like these recipes also:

Crumb Topped Orange Date Muffins
Apple or Crumb Cake Doughnuts 
Orange Bread Pudding

A Tale of Two Books for Your Consideration

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

The Fall of General Custards Cookbook

A while back in my career when I was a consultant to Cuisinart, I met Marlene Sorosky.  I came
to respect and admire her for her books.  So much so, that when I had my bakery, I used several of the recipes from her book, The Dessert Lover’s Cookbook in my bakery. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Recipes from Breakfast to Dessert

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Cranapple Pie for Thanksgiving Recipes
Looking for Thanksgiving Recipes?  Here are some suggestions to get you from Breakfast to Dinner.  I’ve pulled together a list I thought you might enjoy this year.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  And then we’re off to the Christmas holidays.

COFFEECAKES/BREAKFAST & BRUNCH

Chocolate Cranberry Quick Bread is all it promises.  Keep a loaf in the freezer for a quick treatChocolate Cranberry Quick Bread

Stuffed Cinnamon Bread French Toast with Orange Sauce is a breakfast or brunch treat like no other.  The sauce is a variation of my recipe for crepe suzette.Cinnamon French Toast with Orange Sauce for Five Make Ahead Breads for Easter

Belgian Waffles with Berry Compote comes to you via the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot in Disney World many years ago.  It’s as good now as it was then.Belgium waffles with Berry Compote

Scones with Strawberry Cranberry Jam– the scones are always welcome but the Strawberry Cranberry Jam is an easily made topping that really sets these apart.Scone with Cranberry Strawberry Jam

BREADS/ROLLS

Pillowy Soft Dinner Rolls are exactly what a Thanksgiving dinner needs to soak up the gravy.Pillowy Soft Dinner Rolls

The Story of No Knead Bread and Me is my version of this favorite.  Make it, freeze it, enjoy it on Thankgiving.No-Knead Bread

Cream Biscuits – For a change of pace, these would be great and really, really easy.  Freeze, defrost and warm. Cream Biscuits with Strawberry Jam

Cinnamon Raisin Bread – This is my favorite anytime bread.Cinnamon Bread for Make Ahead Breads for Easter

SIDE DISHES

Honey Roasted Vegetables are the perfect side dish for this holiday.Honey Roasted Vegetables

Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish is loved by people that don’t even like cranberries.Cranberry Relish

PIES AND TARTS

Chocolate Cranberry Curd Tart is the runaway favorite for these Thanksgiving Recipes.  One look and you can see why!Chocolate Cranberry Curd Tart

Cranberry Pie with a Pleated Crust – this crust is the easiest way to make a pie.

Boston Cream Pie – A pie in name only, this is wonderful any time of the year.Boston Cream Pie

Lemon Meringue  Pie – Everyone’s favorite American PieLemon Meringue Pie

DESSERTS

Updated Pumpkin Mousse Torte is a perennial favorite that features a light pumpkin mousse with all the flavors of pumpkin pie.Pumpkin Mousse Torte

Apple Crisp Cheesecake is an unusual take on a cheesecake but worth every minute spent on it.

I hope you enjoy these Thanksgiving recipes as much as we do.

Butter-Rum Pecan Tart

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Butter-Rum Pecan TartThis Butter-Rum Pecan Tart was published many, many years ago when Bon Appetit magazine was published out of Los Angeles.  They printed one subject books gathered from the magazine in many different categories.  This recipe was from their Pies and Tarts book.  Although several of my recipes appeared in these books, this is not one of mine and I don’t know who it is from because they weren’t credited. Continue reading

Cranberry Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Cranberry Pecan Streusel Coffee CakeThis Cranberry Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake shouts out fall.  My love of cranberries is known to those that follow the blog.  I can hardly wait until they appear in the market.

While this is an easily made coffee cake, the one thing that makes it stand out when mixing is how the batter becomes very, very cold and stiff after the frozen cranberries are added. Continue reading