Fav Pics

I got a new idea for a new feature while cleaning out my photo collections. I haven’t looked back at them for a while, and there were so many that I loved. So I decided to share these favorites as a weekly feature. I would love to have it short and sweet, but I want to add a recipe in the first photo I picked. Haha. 

FAV PICS: I took this picture to promote one of our favorite desserts at the restaurant, Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding.  I forgot about this pic and how good it looks. Wasn’t easy to get a good picture from the restaurant. Always on the run.

I thought I’d share this recipe. I was making bread pudding for the restaurant with all the extra bread we had. My customers keep coming back for it and always getting it to-go when they are too stuffed from dinner.

Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding

Serves eight large pieces or twelve regular size pieces

  • 1-gallon zip lock bag of stale bread, cubed**
  • 1/2 c raisins
  • Custard
  • 3 c whole milk 
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T butter plus extra 1-2 T butter for pan

Caramelized Apples

  • 3 medium apples, peeled and sliced 1/8″ thick*
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten

Vanilla Sauce

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar–you can add more or less to taste

Grease the baking dish with 1–2 T of melted butter. Note about the pan: My pan ceramic is 8 x 11″ and 3″ deep. Use a 9 x13 pan if you don’t have this size pan.  

In a large bowl, add bread and raisins and set them aside.

Making the custard

Add custard ingredients to a pot, heat over medium heat until you see tiny bubbles forming on the edges, stirring occasionally. Don’t boil. The milk should be steaming. Pour milk mixture over the bread and the raisin and mix until the milk has soaked all the bread. Don’t over mix; the bread cubes should keep their shape somewhat. Set aside.

Caramelizing the apples

Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a frying/saute pan on medium heat. Add sugar to the melted butter, slightly stir it to help it melt evenly. It should start turning brown at the edges. Stirring occasionally, all of the sugar should turn evenly brown. 

It should be light brown all over. It’s probably better to lighter than darker brown because the darker it gets, the more bitter it will taste.


Add the sliced apples and stir into the caramelized sugar.

This moment is when you will probably freak out because you think you ruin your beautifully caramelized sugar. Nope, you didn’t. The sugar will seize (becomes hard clumps) because of the juice from the apples, but keep stirring the sugar and apples together. The apples will start producing a lot of fluid, and the clumps of sugar will melt into the liquid. 


Reduce the apple juice/sugar mixture to half, and the apples should tender by then.

Pour the apple/sugar mixture into the bread custard mix. Mix the apple and bread well, so everything is evenly distributed.

Now turn on your oven to 350º. Once my oven is ready, the mixture is cool enough to add the eggs to the bread custard mix. Mix well, trying not to break up the cubes. Pour mixture into butter dish/pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. The top should be golden brown and puffed up a bit. You can you a cake tester to see if it comes out clean or press down on the top with your finger, and if it springs back, it’s ready. 

Vanilla Sauce

Mix all the ingredients well. 

Serve it warm with a drizzle of vanilla sauce.

This recipe keeps well in the freezer. I slice it up into the serving size, double wrap in plastic wrap, then in foil. Should keep for a month. Take out and defrost in the refrigerator. Heat the slice for a minute in the microwave or toaster to get the texture of the bread soft. 


NOTES

*I use fuji because it holds up to the caramelization but uses whatever apples you like.

** I get my bread from the restaurant, usually hard rolls. I cube the bread, put it in the gallon-sized zip-lock bags, and throw them in the freezer. So I have the bread ready to make when I need it. It’s usually 5-6 hard rolls to fill a gallon freezer bag. Stale bread works the best for this recipe. If the bread is too fresh, it becomes mushy when you add the wet ingredients. Still useable/eatable but doesn’t look as good. I have added some slices of whole wheat bread to the mixture; it adds a nice sweetness. 

The gift of mangoes and bananas

The best thing about living in Hawaii is that people are so generous. And the delivery of mangoes and bananas to my house demonstrated that. Instead of getting just a couple of each, I got the box of mangoes and hand of bananas. Boy, I needed to get my act in gear and use them up before they got too ripe to use.

Mangoes

I said I wanted to make mango jam and I got to make it. I made this recipe before with overripe mangoes from the restaurant and it turned out so delicious. And it was pretty easy.

Mom peeled the mangoes, cutting away any bruised or bad areas. I peeled the lemon rind then took off as much of the pith as I could. Then toss all of it in a wide pot with the sugar and put it on a medium high heat. It will come to a boil, turn it down to medium to simmer. Then let the magic happen. The meat of the mango falls off and once it all falls off it will be ready. I say we had it on for about hour and half.

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peeled mangoes and lemons with lemon rind and sugar

This is the final product. Naturally thick and chunky, sweet mangos with bright taste from the lemons.

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Mon’s special portion

We got 1 pint, 4 half pints and 2 4oz bottles.

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waiting to cool off

I didn’t use up all the mangoes with jam, so I made batch of mango bread using my banana bread recipe and whatever was left I went into the freezer for a pie I’m thinking of trying.

Bananas

A hand of Williams bananas ripening in a brown bag in the patio, were ready at the same time as the mangos arrive. Meant a lot of jamming and baking on very hot and humid end of summer season. A baker needs to do when the ingredients are ready to go.

I made my princess hotflash healthier banana bread. I couldn’t find ground coconut so I used sweeten shredded coconut instead. I also use this recipe for the mango bread.

I had a brain fart and didn’t look at my mom’s measuring cup and added too much sugar in the banana bread. (thought the 3/4 measuring cup was a 1/2 cup–don’t have a 3/4c in my measuring cups). Oops.

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It turned out darker that it should with the extra sugar

But it didn’t taste too sugary. Whew! I was really sad that I may had needed to toss it out.

And the leftover bananas went in the freezer also for smoothies or monkey butter or strawberry banana pie. Not sure which one I want to make.

Well, more baking and jamming to come. Got a bag of distress fruit at Don Quixote. with plums, peaches, grapefruit and mineola orange. A small batch of stone fruit jam with orange and grapefruit curd all for $2.50.

The Big Yellow Beast

The Big Yellow Beast aka the giant weight machine has gone to a new home. Who knew it would take so long to find a new owner.

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It took C’s Dad and me a half day with no instruction just a printout of what it should look like from the company’s website. It was like a jigsaw puzzle. Here’s the post of the it being set up.

This time it only took 2 guys about 1/2 hour figure out what to take apart and move it of of the space. I was able to also find a home for fig tree #2, my girlfriend, sister of the new owner of the Big Yellow Beast. Now I have half empty garage that I need to find a home for a thread mill, gardening tools and all the miscellaneous that still resides there. Not too bad.

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Donation boxes filling up the space the Big Yellow Beast stood

In the meantime, I wanted to share a recipe with you. I thought I’d random post about my new adventure and post a recipe at the same time. This way I can start filling my recipe page.

Tanaka Bars

It’s kind of a blondie, an old family recipe, Tanaka Bars. Not sure what the back story is I’m assuming the recipe is from Mrs Tanaka, but I don’t know who she is or I just don’t remember. Been making since we have been baking at my parent’s house. It was part of the Christmas cookie line up.

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This were a little well done but still had a great taste.


Tanaka Bar

1/4c butter, melted

1c brown sugar

1 egg

1t vanilla

1c flour

1t baking powder

1/4t salt

3/4c chocolate chips (I like bittersweet)

3/4c chopped nuts (I use walnuts)

 

Pre heat oven to 350º. Combine sugar, egg, and vanilla to warm melted butter, beat till fluffy. Shift dry ingredients. Add to the sugar butter mixture. Mix to just come together, don’t over mix. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Spread mixture evenly into a 8″ or 9″ square pan, greased•. Bake for 30 minutes, golden brown or when knife comes out clean. Cut into while still warm.

• I line my pan with a sheet of parchment paper so it comes out of the pan easier and it easer cut up into the squares.

Now back to the house. sigh . . . .

Recipe Testing: Holiday Office Party Cake

How I got on the Party Planning committee, I don’t know. Someone suggested my name? Maybe? It’s been 2 years on the committee and 4 party. This maybe my last one as I’m soon to be off to Hawaii working remotely.

We always have dessert potluck for the party. This year I wanted to test out Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Flourless Cake recipe that found on pinterest. It looked really beautiful and I knew there were a few gluten-free people so I thought I’d try it out.

Ingredients

I used meyer lemons instead of regular lemons (had them in my fruit bin for some curd) and just the zest. I used zest of 3 lemons. Then eggs, separated and ricotta and almond meal. I also use vanilla extract instead bean because I didn’t have any. Sugar I used slightly less–1 1/4 instead of 1 1/3 because I read some of the comments that it was a bit sweet.

Mix up

I whipped the butter and sugar for a really long time as I cleaned up my kitchen. The butter/sugar mixture was really light and fluffy. Added zest, yolks and vanilla, blended well. Looks like a lot of zest but that is all the lemon flavoring in this recipe and that’s why that amount is needed. It kind gives the mix a yellowish color.

Then folded in the almond meal. It was kind of dense but I figure the egg white would lighten it up. I heated the egg whites and sugar to stiff peaks then fold it into the mix. And yes, it did lighten up the mixture, it was light yellow with fleck from the almond flour.

Ready for the oven

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Once it mixed well, (please don’t over mix the egg whites and deflate them), I added the mix to prepared 9″ springform pan. The pan isn’t greased to help with the rise like a angel food cake, so you have to line the bottom and sides pan so it would come out easier. Well that’s what I think since there isn’t any leavening besides the egg white. Then I sprinkled sliced almonds on top.

Voila

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Finish product. Baked 20 minutes longer than the recipe called for. I baked it till it was golden brown on top and firm to the touch in the center. I let it cool overnight in the pan and the parchment paper really help getting it out.

Everyone loved the cake at the party. It disappeared in no time. I think it’s a nice cake for the holidays because it isn’t too heavy, looks great and very quick and easy to make.