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Monday, November 21, 2011

French Bread Pudding

A baguette stays fresh for exactly one day.  That's just how they are born.  Like many people, they begin soft and warm only to end hard and crusty!  That's a problem, unless you like to throw bread away ... or Grandpa.  I like to make Bread Pudding!                            

I will have warm bread pudding for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee, of course.  Sometimes I'll grab it cold in the middle of the night.  Oftentimes it is made with raisins, but don't limit yourself there!   Mix in Cardamom or Cinnamon. Any fruit will work...peaches, plums, even prunes.  Serve with heavy cream (daddy's way), or with creme anglaise - a delicious custard sauce.  In France this is often used in place of frostings.  Can also be used as a topping for fresh fruit.   Be creative!  Unlike a crusty Grandpa, Bread Pudding is very forgiving.


  • One stale baguette (approx. 10 cups), torn or cut into 1 inch chunks.
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups milk                                                                                     
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 oz. dried apricots
  • 1 Tbsp. cognac or other brandy (optional).

Cut each apricot into 4 pieces and soak in a bowl of warm water with the cognac.

Pour the milk into another bowl and add the torn bread.  Push it down in the milk so it can soak well.  Place this in the refrigerator so it can soak for an hour.

In another bowl, whip together the eggs, vanilla, and sugar.  Mix this with the soaked bread.  Drain the water from the apricots and stir them in.  

Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13 baking pan, or any attractive baking dish of similar size.  Dot with small pieces of the butter.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden brown and set.  

Serves 8



Vanilla Custard Sauce/Creme Anglaise

Caution!  Do Not heat the sauce too much or too quickly!  The egg yolks will cook into little clumps.  We don't like clumps.

You can adjust this recipe for sweetness, adding more sugar if preferred.  I find this to be just right as is.  You can use half and half, or milk, depending on the richness you are after.


  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream                                                                    
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract                                                                                  
Stir together the egg yolks and sugar with a wooden spoon, being careful not to add a lot of air.  Sugar should be somewhat dissolved.

Put the milk in a sauce pan and heat just below the boiling point (milk will form bubbles around the edges of the pan and become steamy just before boiling).

Remove the pan from the heat, and and stir just a couple Tablespoons of the hot milk into the egg and sugar mixing well the whole time.  Gradually add the rest of the milk - stirring constantly.  Return mixture to the saucepan and place on low heat.

Heat the sauce until it thickens, but do not boil!  The sauce is done when it stays on the spoon without dripping - about 5 minutes.  Do not overheat, or it will curdle!

As soon as the sauce is thickened remove it from the heat.  Stir in the vanilla extract and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to desired serving temperature.  Can serve warm or cold.

Makes 2 cups.

Instead of Vanilla, try your favorite liqueur - cognac, rum, or Grand Mariner


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chez Daniel

It's been a year since I've been to Chez Daniel, but I think of it often.  Not only did I share the evening with one of my dearest of friends, Sheila, and even though I can not recall what we ordered, the feelings of that evening stay close. The food was divine, and I remember savoring each and every bite with an "Oh," or "Ahh,"  or "Oh my!"

I do remember that Sheila ordered a clam dish of sorts. I helped her open her clams - as they were plentiful!  The atmosphere is warmly lit French with exquisite decor!  We had close attention from the waitress and it was truly a dinner extraordinaire!


Chez Daniel offers elegant yet unpretentious French cuisine.  Independently owned and under the leadership of Executive Chef Pierre Jean Laupies - a native of Southern France, yet there is no snobbery here!

A Sunday brunch is offered, private dining options, weekly specials, happy hours, and a unique experience for students of French language classes in middle or high school where only French is spoken.

What I do remember is that we finished our meals with two delicious coffee drinks:  The Nutty Italian, and The Nutty Irishman.  Fitting!

  2800 American Boulevard West
Bloomington, MN 55431

and get this ...

Complimentary shuttle service to/from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and the Mall of America.        

very cool.