IN A LARGE bowl, whisk milk with condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, zest, and currants. Add bread cubes, folding to coat evenly. Set aside 30 to 60 minutes.
PREHEAT oven to 300 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with oil. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a tea kettle.
FOLD chocolate mixture and pecans into bread mixture. Transfer to baking dish, then set it inside a larger pan. Place in the oven and pour boiling water into larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the smaller pan.
COVER with foil and bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool with sauce.
Note: For 13/4 cups sauce, bring 11/2 cups heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; add 6 ounces good-quality white chocolate. Stir until melted.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: (Per serving) 707 calories (55 percent from fat), 44.1 g fat (24.5 g saturated, 14 g monounsaturated), 171.5 mg cholesterol, 13.2 g protein, 67.9 g carbohydrates, 1.7 g fiber, 354.1 mg sodium.
For a grown-up kick, serve this classic hard sauce with your bread pudding.
Makes about 11/2 cups.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup whiskey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
COMBINE sugar, butter, corn syrup, lemon juice, whiskey and 1/4 cup water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook about 15 minutes, until sauce thickens and turns golden brown. Remove from heat. Beat a spoonful of the hot mixture into the egg, then stir back into pot, along with vanilla.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: (Per tablespoon) 76 calories (46 percent from fat), 4 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 1.1 g monounsaturated), 18.9 mg cholesterol, 0.3 g protein, 8.7 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 4.1 mg sodium.
Source: Miami Herald
French Toast Souffle
10 cups bread cubes - about 16 1-oz slices
8 ounces cream cheese, 1/3 less fat - softened
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups 2% low-fat milk
2/3 cup half and half
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
PLACE bread cubes in a 13-by 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Beat cream cheese at medium speed of mixer until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add milk, half-and-half, 1/2 cup maple syrup, and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture over top of bread, cover and refrigerate overnight.
PREHEAT oven to 375°.
REMOVE bread mixture from refrigerator; let stand on counter for 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes or until set.
Source: "Cooking Light Magazine," April 2000
Makes 6 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 container (10 ounces) mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas and carrots, thawed
Salt and pepper
3 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
HEAT in a 12-inch nonstick skillet olive oil over medium-high heat.
ADD onion and mushrooms, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add ground beef, and brown, stirring occasionally; drain.
STIR in tomato sauce and vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season, if desired, with salt and pepper.
PREHEAT broiler. Turn meat mixture into 3-quart casserole. Evenly top with hot mashed potatoes. Place casserole about 6 inches from heat source; broil 3 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned.
Source: Adapted from a recipe in the Lexington Herald-Leader.