It feels like I’ve been away for a long time from my blogging friends devoted to writing about the 50 Women Game Changers —and it’s good to be back. Mary Berger at One Perfect Bite really had a stroke of genius when she decided to start this group. This week’s woman game changer is Darina Allen, #38, and I’m doing a modified version of her toasted bread pudding.
Many food afficionados credit Darina Allen for saving the best of Irish foods before “progress” obliterated it. In 1968, she graduated in hotel management at the Dublin Institute of Technology. Not long after graduating, Allen heard there was a farmer’s wife who ran a country estate restaurant called Ballymaloe. This woman, Myrtle Allen, served Irish food using the available fresh ingredients from their 100 acre farm, and the menu varied from day to day depending on the freshness of the garden produce —something virtually unheard of in those days. Darina applied for a position, was hired, and eventually became the farmer’s wife’s daughter-in-in law, and the founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School. The school’s philosophy is sustainability. Use the best and freshest local ingredients you can find and minimize travel. Cooking and eating has to be enriching, enjoyable and fun. You can learn more about Darina at the Ballymaloe Cookery School website, or this NY Times article.
I wanted a healthy whole wheat version for Darina’s “Irish Bread and Butter Pudding,” so I decreased the amount of sugar and raisins, used whole wheat challah bread, and excluded the butter to use olive oil in its place. This “pudding” is not like most bread puddings where the bread gets fully immersed for hours in milk and egg. When you eat this bread pudding you might wonder, is it toast or is it pudding? It’s both. The bottom of the pudding absorbs most of the milk and egg, making it soft and tender. The top of the pudding absorbs little of the milk and eggs making it more like toast. This is not a rich dessert; it is a very slightly sweetened breakfast pudding. It makes a nice alternative to my regular bowl of oatmeal.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
6 to 8 slices whole wheat challah bread, or some other tender whole wheat bread
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar, or brown cane sugar
2 or 3 tablespoons raisins
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
*optional – sliced oranges and 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons maple poured over the top
1) Remove the crusts from the bread and cut the bread into triangles.
2) Use some olive oil to grease a 7-1/2 x 11 oven-proof dish. Cover the base of the dish with one layer of bread triangles and sprinkle some of the raisins over the bread.
3) Repeat with another layer of bread and raisins until the pan is full.
4) Beat together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and spices, and then pour it evenly over the bread layers. Let it sit for half an hour so that the bread soaks up the liquid.
5) Set the oven temperature to 350°F (180°) C. Bake it for about half an hour or until golden and puffy. It is best when eaten out of the oven.
Please check out what these other bloggers have cooked up this week.
Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Joanne – Eats Well With Others, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden, Heather – Girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette – Healthy Living, Mary – One Perfect Bite, Kathleen –Bake Away with Me Sue – The View from Great Island, Barbara – Movable Feasts, Kathleen – Gonna Want Seconds, Linda A – There and Back Again Nancy – Picadillo, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen, Annie– Most Lovely Things , Claudia –Journey of an Italian Cook, Amrit Beetles Kitchen Escapades, Alyce – More Time at the Table
This recipe is also posted at Frugal Food Thursday and Full Plate Thursday