Butterscotch Pudding

I don't know about you, but I'm a pudding lover from way back. My mother used to make all kinds of puddings for dessert....even blancmange, which I actually liked! Talk about bland. Her custards were perfection. No holes, not watery, just creamy mouthfuls.
My favorite pudding, or should I say the one I make the most, is plain old tapioca (I remember in boarding school we called it fish eye pudding), but any pudding will do (except instant.). Even chocolate pudding, for which I posted a divine recipe HERE, and you know I'm not a chocolate lover, so you know this is ambrosial.

Well recently, Lori from Recipe girl posted a butterscotch pudding recipe and I made it immediately. It's creamy and delicious and so simple to make. When the mood strikes you, give this a try. Bet you have everything in your pantry to make it.

Butterscotch Pudding
From Recipe Girl

1 1/2  cups brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3  cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
unsweetened whipped cream, for serving

Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan.  Pour in the milk and egg yolks; whisk to combine, and stir the together over medium heat.  Once it starts to boil, reduce heat and while stirring, cook until thickened. When it seems like it has a nice, thick texture for pudding- pull it off the heat and stir in the butter.
Spoon the pudding into small glasses or dishes and chill for at least 2 hours.  Top with whipped cream before serving.


Brioche Loaf

Unfortunately, this loaf takes two days to make. Fortunately, it doesn't take much time the first day and the second day is mainly the rise. I love the Huckleberry Cookbook by Zoe Nathan and had seen a recipe there for a delicious Christmas breakfast...cranberry syrup over brioche French toast. No doubt you saw it on my blog before the holidays and I promised I'd post the recipe for the brioche loaf. I've made individual brioche, but never a loaf. It's not the prettiest loaf you've ever seen...but divine tasting. My rise went quickly because I have a proofing setting on my oven and after two hours, it was practically overflowing my loaf pan. I have a feeling Ms. Nathan uses a loaf pan made especially for brioche which would get the height I didn't get without the overflow. Doesn't matter, it was an awesome loaf...from the Christmas French toast, to our traditional Christmas brunch souffle, to sandwiches, to bread pudding, to just plain toast. We loved it. Worth the effort, I assure you.

Brioche Loaf
From Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan


3 tablespoons whole milk

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 ¾ cups bread flour
¼ cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup unsalted butter, very soft
1 batch Egg Wash

For Egg Wash:
 2 egg yolks
2 tbsp heavy cream
Pinch of kosher salt

Day 1
Slightly warm the milk and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the yeast and whisk by hand to combine. Add the all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, salt, and eggs. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together, 1 to 2 minutes.

Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and work the dough for 6 minutes. Pause about every minute to push the dough back down into the bowl and off the hook.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the butter, a little at a time, over the course of 2 minutes. Pause halfway through to scrape down the bowl and hook. When the butter begins to blend in, increase the mixer speed to medium-high to fully incorporate the butter and bring the dough back together, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

Transfer the dough to a greased sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Divide the dough into two equal balls, about 11 oz/315 g each. Transfer to a greased sheet pan, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2
Grease a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. Work with one dough ball at a time. First flatten into a disc, then left an edge and press it into the center. Work your way around the circumference, pressing every edge to the center until you have a ball. Flip the ball over so the pleated side is down and the smooth side is up. Cup the dough in your palm and massage the seam side of the dough firmly against the work surface in a circular motion, allowing the friction to seal the seams. Set aside and cover with plastic wrap or a slightly damp kitchen towel while you shape the next ball.
Place the balls into the loaf pan, cover loosely with plastic, and allow to rise in a warm place until more than doubled in size, about 3.5 hours.
As the dough nears readiness, preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C. Carefully brush the dough with the egg wash, making sure the egg doesn’t pool around the edges. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.

For the Egg Wash:
Combine the egg yolks, heavy cream, and salt and whisk until homogenous. Refrigerate until needed.


Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

Not the greatest photo of our chicken dish, but you know how it is when everyone is in a hurry to eat, you're fortunate to get a photo at all.
The chicken is marinated for a day or so in buttermilk. rosemary and garlic and I can't begin to describe how tender it was. Just drain the marinade and pop it into the oven. Easy, peasy.

Buttermilk Roasted Chicken
From The New York Times

1 4-pound chicken 
2 cups buttermilk 
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed 
1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns 
1 tablespoon Maldon or other sea salt 
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped 
1 tablespoon honey 

Butterfly chicken by placing breast side down and using heavy-duty kitchen shears to cut along both sides of backbone. Discard backbone, turn chicken over and open it like a book. Press gently to flatten it.

Place chicken in a large freezer bag. Add buttermilk, 1/4 cup oil, garlic, peppercorns, salt, rosemary and honey. Seal bag securely and refrigerate overnight or up to two days.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.Remove chicken from marinade and place on a rack so excess can drip off. Line a roasting pan with foil and place chicken in pan. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Roast for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees. Continue roasting until well browned and until juices run clear when chicken is pierced where leg joins thigh, about another 20 minutes.
Place chicken on a carving board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces. Place a portion on each of four plates, and drizzle each serving with pan juices.


Lemon Ricotta Cake with Almonds

This is a divinely moist cake, mostly because of the ricotta. Besides, I love anything made with almond flour and when you add lemon zest to the mix, you've got a blue ribbon recipe. For dessert or to serve thinner slices with tea, it's perfection. What better way to start out the new year?

Lemon Ricotta Cake with Almonds

From Honest Cooking, recipe by Hein van Tonder

4.2 ounces butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup lemon zest
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 scant cups (8.5 ounces) almond meal
1 1/4 cups (10.6 ounces) ricotta
flaked almonds for decoration
icing sugar for serving

Heat oven to 355 degrees F and line the base and sides of a 20cm (8 inch) round cake tin with baking paper.
Place half of the sugar and the lemon zest in a food processor and blitz until finely ground. Then beat the butter, vanilla and sugar/zest mix together for about 10 minutes until pale and creamy.
Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating the mixture well after each egg yolk is added.
Add the almond meal and beat to combine and then fold the ricotta into the almond mixture.
Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites and whisk until stiff peaks have formed. Mix a third of the egg whites into the cake mixture, then gently fold in the rest of the egg white mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the top and sprinkle with the almond flakes.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until cooked and firm to the touch.

Allow to cool completely in the cake tin before removing. Dust with icing sugar to serve.


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