This past Saturday, I hosted a small Bridesmaids Tea at my home in anticipation of my friend’s wedding. I had tons of menu items planned… finger sandwiches, cookies, scones, fruit, and of course lots of coffee and various teas.
However, the biggest hit of the day was a dish I made completely last minute. About an hour before everyone was set to arrive, I found myself with a huge pile of bread crusts left over from making finger sandwiches. As I opened my fridge to ponder what I’d do with them, my eyes landed on a container of chai concentrate.
“Oh yes,” I thought. “Double yes. This is the best idea.”
Thus, chai tea bread pudding was born.
A tip on bread types: I used a crusty Italian bread for this and it was perfect! Feel free to reduce or increase the sugar just a bit depending on the bread. For example, a brioche or challah has enough sweetness that you could cut the sugar by about 1/4. A sourdough might call for a slight increase. Use your best judgement depending on what sort of bread you’ve got around.
Chai Tea Bread Pudding
Yields: 10 individual servings
1200ml (5 cups) stale or day-old bread, cut into 1cm cubes (Since it was last minute I used fresh bread, dried out just a bit in the oven)
240ml (1 milk) milk
180ml (3/4 cup) chai tea concentrate (I prefer Oregon Chai, link below)
60ml (1/4 cup) heavy cream
50g (1/4 cup) white sugar
40g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
20g (1/4 cup) sliced almonds
1. Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Divide your bread cubes into 10 cupcake cups. They should be just about (or a tad above) level, not heaped high.
2. In a large container with a pouring spout, combine the milk, chai concentrate, heavy cream, eggs, sugars, cinnamon and vanilla bean and mix thoroughly. Pour a bit of the mix into each cup, using only about half of your milk mixture. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the bread has been thoroughly saturated.
3. Using a fork, gently press down the bread. Now, pour on the remaining milk mixture. Press down again just a bit to make sure the bread is completely saturated. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top of each bread pudding, then bake for 30-40 minutes or until set. The puddings will be puffed up quite a bit, and the centers will spring back when touched. The puddings will deflate once cooled, but this is normal!
4. If serving warm, serve right away. If you prefer your pudding cool, pipe a nice rosette of whipped cream on top of your puddings before serving and enjoy!
When I say these bread puddings were a hit, I mean it. Some guests even went back for thirds! I would have, too, had their been any left.
Here are some links for the chai and the adorable silicone teacup liners I used:
Last but not least, some recent bakes!
Let’s begin with the aforementioned bridal shower! The spread included bacon cheddar whole wheat scones, blueberry streusel scones, egg salad sandwiches, goat cheese cucumber dill sandwiches, strawberry rhubarb thumbprint cookies, and lemon sugar cookies.
I especially liked the thumprint cookies. I finished them with some edible lace I had around, and they ended up being super cute!
I also recently made a wee Dreamcast cake for my friends Josh and Patrick, who run The Pat Rat Shack! They used it to celebrate the birthday of the Dreamcast on 9/9 (NNNNEEERRRRDS!). The inside was orange and sour cream cake with a tangy orange curd filling that I snuck more than a few bites of. I love me some citrus curd.
They put these photos of it up on Facebook:
Thanks for asking me to do the cake, guys!
That’s all for now. I’ll see you all soon with more Pastry Live and Steven Universe series entries!