Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bread Pudding with Cherries and Blueberries (Kirschen Serviettenknodel)

I thought I'd add blueberries to this cherry bread pudding recipe as a festive nod to Independence Day.  The whipped cream, which completes the red-white-and-blue theme, is another tasty deviation from the original, which calls for cherry compote or cream sauce.  I made this with fresh local cherries, blueberries, milk, eggs and homemade bread.  The flavor was delicious but I wish the texture had been softer and lighter.
I think the reason my bread pudding goes rubbery is that I start with too-sticky bread.  The last couple of times I've made steamed bread puddings I've used white bread made from scratch.  The first time I used bread flour; this time I used all-purpose.  Both times I used an overnight ferment.  I baked the bread on a hot stone at 450 F for longer than the recipe recommended and the crumb was still stubbornly small and sticky.  This is troublesome.  I have read many books on the theory, chemistry and techniques of bread baking and used to be good at it, but seem to have fallen out of practice.  If I were to dedicate the resources to making this recipe again, I would like to try my tried-and-true whole wheat loaf recipe.  That loaf still comes out with a small crumb, but the whole wheat bread is naturally more crumbly than white and therefore less likely to turn into rubber.  Also, I think my bread would have come out better if I used some tenderizers like fat, milk or sugar.  The last two times I made woefully sticky bread it was nothing but flour, water, salt and yeast.
Anyway, to bring this recipe together, I combined a cup of scalded milk with 3/4 cup semolina flour, 1/4 cup sugar, a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, 1/2 lb chopped cherries and whole blueberries, and six cups of crustless toasted butter-fried bread cubes.  I mixed all this together as best I could and plopped it in the middle of a buttered cloth, tied it up and sunk it in a pot of boiling water for an hour.
I can imagine this being absolutely heavenly when made with a light, open-crumbed baguette.

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