Tuesday, August 15, 2006

savory bread puddings and a cherry-fig tart

These looked good and tasted even better. The white dish (full-fat and cholesterol) was based on the previously mentioned Strata recipe. It had sourdough slices topped with purple pesto dollops, fresh mozzarella pieces, crumbled cotija and fresh garden tomato slices. Topped by another layer of the same minus the cotija. The custard was 4 large eggs and 1 & 1/2 cups half-n-half, plus a pinch of salt, and was allowed to rest in the fridge for about an hour and a half after pouring over the rest.

The terra cotta piece (more heart-conscious, much lower cholesterol) contained half-whole-wheat sourdough slices that were laced with various seeds (caraway, anise, sesame, poppy, sunflower, and oatmeal) topped with carmelized yellow onion and grated parm, and then another layer of the same but incorporating fresh chives and a single sage leaf on the top. Oh yeah, and the custard was 4 egg whites (3/4 cup) and 1 & 1/4 cups non-fat milk and rested in the fridge for the same amount of time. Both were cooked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, checked out clean with a knife put in them, and were put back in the oven for five more minutes because they could stand to get a touch darker.

The white was something like Italian bread-quiche (go figure) while the terra cotta was akin to a...well, uh........a savory bread pudding! (except that it was distinctly layered, something that I do not believe I have had yet.) The family liked them, and it even prompted the monkey to have us join hands and be thankfull with a little blessing/song.

Ah, dessert. I love dessert. And I love figs. And cherries. When it dawned on me that we now had both sitting side by side on our counter after the morning grocery run, I was called to take action. Last week I made a Reedley fig tart that was well received by the local stomachs; thinking this, I was struck with the notion that another fig tart, vegan perhaps, with cherries and a touch of balsamic doesn't sound too bad, like, tonight. I worked up a crust with 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1/2 cup soy garden spread, put it in that-there oblong dish, and baked it for 25 minutes at 350. I took it out and let cool some while I washed the fruit. Black mission figs and rainier cherries. Yum -mee. Arranged on the crust and splashed with some (mildly) ginger-infused simple syrup and a few drops of balsamic, it looked pretty good. I put it in the oven and while closing the door thought "oh Peggy Hill, just add nutmeg!" It came right back out, got some freshly grated on top of it, a coating of granulated sugar (out of powdered at this point) and back into the oven at 350 for 20 more minutes. It looked good. It, too, was well received by the local stomachs.

Man, I love figs. And cherries. And my brain, when it comes up with these types of things....

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