When Life Gives You Leftover Challah Pudding

So this seemed like a good idea and the non-baker's way to offer up super fast dessert. Adding chocolate chips makes bread pudding Valentine's Day friendly too! More to the point, I scored some major household points.

As this was a first timer for me, I admit I may make adjustments. That said, baking eggs and milk is science, just not the rocket kind. It's forgiving.


2 cups milk room temp

2 eggs room temp

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla, or more

Pinch of salt

(Maybe 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon next time)

1/2 challah or loaf of brioche, stale or not, roughly 1 inch cubes

Big handful of chips, or more

Unsalted Butter for baking dish, 2 quart dish

*note, mine was more deep than shallow meaning extra baking time. More shallow = less baking time

Preheat oven 350

Rub butter all over baking dish and up the sides. Mix milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt. Toss that mixture with the bread. Let it soak a few. Pour half into baking dish, sprinkle generously with chips. Pour in the rest. More chips! Bake 50 min – 1 hour until the middle shows no sign of liquid when pressed.

Rest 10 minutes.

Eat – B


It’s a Bundt

When you don't have butter, make this cake. Thank you @Hersheys.com for keeping this classic for us. Hot water and veg oil make for a super moist cake. I sacrificed snow day cocoa for this confection and it was worth it. The online version calls for frosting. My number 1 son doesn't care for it, nor did I have much of the aforementioned butter. You can find the recipe here.

I added the fruit just for the photo.


Eat sweet – B


EZ As…Well, Frankly, Easier Than Pie

This crust is from one of my all time fave fruit based dessert cookbooks. I've filled it with fruit from just about every season. It is not hard to roll out. Just remember to flour your surface and rolling pin. Mistakes can be patched with extra dough. No judgement.

Galette Dough

Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson

One 10 inch galette

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 T granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (I used Kosher)

3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, in 3/4 inch cubes

3 T ice water, more if needed

1 t fresh lemon juice

Combine flour, sugar and salt, freeze at least 10 minutes. Toss butter in flour. Blend butter into flour mix with pastry blender, food processor, mixer or your hands until it's a course mix. Stir water and lemon juice together, then drizzle over dough. Toss or pulse until it holds together. Turn it out and and press and fold a few times to hold the dough together. Flatten into a circle, wrap and chill at least an hour or up to 3 days.

Filling: about 3-4 apples, peeled, seeded and cut in 1/8ths, 2-3 tablespoons flour, 1/3-1/2 cup sugar – less with sweet apples, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, a squeeze of lemon, pinch of salt and a few small knobs of butter (optional).

Roll out the dough on floured surface or floured baking paper, about 12 inches. Slide onto baking pan before filling. Spread apple mixture evenly but leave a couple inches from the outside free. Fold and pleat crust over the apples. You can brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar if desired.

Chill 20 minutes. Preheat oven 400. Bake 25-30 minutes. Lower heat to 350, bake another 20-25 until filling bubble and apples are easy to pierce.

Filling note:

More or less of any ingredient won't change the dynamic. If you don't believe me, try baking the filling in a casserole without a crust. It's delicious topped with granola and or ice cream. If you use stone fruit (juicier), think about corn starch as a thickener instead.

Eat – B



Meat free and Monday Pudding

I'm not advocating for weeknight dessert after reading the latest in the NYT's from noted food and health doctor Robert Lustig regarding sugar consumption. BUT as a treat, this “Best-Ever Vanilla Pudding” from Better Homes and Gardens works just fine. Hands down it eclipses powdered pudding!

A couple of notes, the first step can take a bit, at least 15 minutes by my watch. But don't rush milk that's thickening, or adding eggs to hot liquid. You'd regret it.

Also the only true way to have completely lump free pudding would be to strain it. I didn't and it was fine, but a table topic nonetheless (ingrates :).

I may try the recipe again with 1/4 cup less of sugar. It's a little sweet and I suspect it would come together anyway.

And think about a dash of cinnamon – couldn't hurt and supposedly great for cardiovascular health. So that's something.

1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

3 cups half-and-half or whole milk

4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 Tbsp. butter

2 tsp. vanilla or vanilla paste

1/4 teaspoon salt

In medium saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch. Add dairy and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. Gradually add 1 cup hot liquid to egg yolks while stirring, then whisk egg mixture into pot. Bring to gentle boil and reduce heat. Cook 2 more minutes. Take off heat, adding butter, vanilla and salt.

Pour into 6 bowls, let stand 45 minutes, serve or chill.

Whip cream and/or berries optional. Or think about mini chips in that bad boy!

Eat – B


Venetian Apple Cake

We call this the devil made me do it cake as I've been known to double down around Halloween. As Gina De Palma describes in her book “Dolce Italiano” it's an easy, make it in an afternoon cake. Try to get the eggs, butter & milk to the same temp. (I lifted the ingredients & instructions from a Serious Eats post, but the book is well worth the purchase!)

This time I also subbed corn meal for the polenta I was missing and a 1/4 teaspoon allspice for the ginger (am I really missing ground ginger from the spice cabinet?!) -worked out anyway and the cake is delicious in its original. For Ohio fans or those in a shipping area, Jeni's Splendid Brown Butter Almond brittle can't be beat as a topper.


1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup instant or fine polenta

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 large Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apple

8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup honey

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup whole milk


Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the center. Grease a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray, dust it with flour, and tap to knock out the excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, poleta, baking powder, salt, and spices together and set aside. Peel the apple and grate it, using the medium side of a box grater. Place the grated apple in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and set aside.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, olive oil, and sugar together on medium speed until and fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the honey until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl, followed by the vanilla extract.

On low speed, beat in half the dry ingredients, followed by all the milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the remaining dry ingredients. Switch the mixer to medium speed and beat for 30 seconds to emulsify the batter. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the grated apple.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly touched. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto the rack to cool completely.

Eat – B



I’m back!

And just in time to guest host on 710 WOR, 6-10 am east. I will keep it short and sweet so you have time to download the FREE app to listen anywhere in the country (you can call too!)

I had a bowl of overripe peaches and load of guilt for wasting then. As my mother and the NYT’s food writer Mark Bittman both know, cooking them down saves money and adds flavor.

It was just a peel, chop, sugar, cook (and in my case, purée) moment. Here’s the link for the inspiration.

I used a heavy pound of fruit, with 5 tablespoons of vanilla sugar and 2 tablespoons of water. After 45 minutes of cooking and mashing, I threw the whole thing in the food processor for a whirl.

Top toast with ricotta, jam and toasted almonds.

Or blend with garlic, soy sauce and ginger for a chicken glaze.

Or make pop tarts with pie dough.

Or freeze for winter when you’re desperate for the taste of summer.

Enjoy the endless deliciousness – B
(I just wish I had time to make biscuits!)

Not Key Lime Pie

Or…a great no bake citrus dessert

As my guy pointed out this holiday weekend, we've come a long way. As in, I was trusting him to shop for the groceries, even when company's coming! By coming a long way, I'm pretty sure he meant I've given up a touch of control. I prefer to look at it as having faith. 🙂

(Remind me at some point to describe his first après Thanksgiving shopping which was something of an opposite experience.)

Nonetheless, I digress. I had it in my head I wanted a key lime pie and I'm not above using the bottled juice. So that went on the list. Everything else I had in the pantry including sweetened condensed milk and a pre made crust – see how far I've come!

The key lime juice proved elusive – the quest of 3.0 grocery graduates. In my new, more relaxed and appreciative state I quickly switched course, scanning the Internet for a semifreddo to use an over abundance of lemons.

The recipe is super simple (click here for the recipe), but it's a two step process that takes a bit of chill time. Also if you've never made a curd before, just know it looks like a mess in the pot until the last couple of minutes.