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Blueberry Bread Pudding

This yummy pudding, laced with fresh blueberries,  deserves a medal.  A sprinkle of shredded coconut and a few just-shelled walnuts gives it a well-deserved A-plus.  Important! Use a good cognac.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar for caramelizing
  • 8 slices day-old bread
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs, or 4 ounces (½ cup) egg-substitute
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon quality cognac

DIRECTIONS

STEP 1
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

STEP 2
Wash blueberries, pick out poor ones, stem and drain. Set aside.

STEP 3
In a skillet, caramelize sugar to a rich amber color, being careful not to burn. Quickly pour down center of 13 X 9 X 2-inch oven pan. Rotate quickly to coat bottom of pan as well as possible. Set aside.

STEP 4
With a kitchen brush, lightly spread the bread slices with melted butter, then cube. Spread on a cookie sheet and “dry” in the oven for five minutes. Do not toast. Transfer bread cubes to large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine eggs or egg-substitute; whole egg, sugar and both milks. Beat with hand beater until well-blended, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, salt and cream of tartar. Continue beating until all is well incorporated. Pour over bread in bowl. Mix well and set aside to soak 30 minutes, pressing down bread to soak evenly.

STEP 5
After soaking period, transfer bread mixture to prepared pan, spreading evenly. Scatter blueberries over and mix gently. Sprinkle walnuts and coconut evenly over all. Press down slightly. Combine melted butter and cognac. Dribble over the whole pudding.

STEP 6
Prepare a bain marie with hot water. Place pudding in center of bain marie, and bake 45 minutes. Use the ice cube method to avoid water from boiling into the pudding. (For complete instructions , see the “Spanish Caramel Custard” recipe earlier in this chapter). Serve hot, warm or chilled. Any which way -- it’s delightful!

STEP 7
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

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