Recipes: The meal was a success, the drinks were a hit, and now it's time to seal the deal with a delectable dessert. This season, we suggest adding a little spice to some of your classic holiday favorites. Here are some delicious recipes to help you do just that.
Apple and Maple Bread Pudding
Cooking the bread pudding in a loaf pan gives it a modern, bakery-style look. For a more decadent dessert, serve with vanilla ice cream.
6 large eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons apple brandy (such as applejack or Calvados)
1 1-pound loaf pain rustique, all crust trimmed, bread cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes (6 1/2 to 7 cups)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 5), peeled, quartered, cored, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices (about 7 cups)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup plus additional for brushing (preferably Grade B)
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
Directions Custard: Whisk eggs, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt in large bowl. Add milk, cream, and brandy and whisk until well blended. Add bread cubes and press to submerge into custard. Let soak at least 30 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread cubes to submerge.
Apples: 1. Meanwhile, position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter 9x5-inch glass or ceramic loaf pan with at least 3-inch-high sides. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple slices and sauté until deep golden and beginning to soften, stirring and turning apple slices frequently, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup maple syrup, then brown sugar. Simmer until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens to syrup, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
2. Mix half of apple slices into bread-custard mixture. Transfer bread pudding mixture to prepared pan. Arrange remaining apple slices atop bread pudding in 2 lengthwise rows. Spoon any remaining syrup from skillet over apple slices. Place loaf pan on rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills during baking).
3. Bake bread pudding until puffed and cracked on top, apples are deep brown, and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pudding registers 170°F to 180°F, about 1 hour 30 minutes (pudding will rise high above top of pan). Remove from oven and let rest at room temperature 45 minutes to 1 hour (pudding will fall). Brush apples on top of pudding with additional maple syrup. Spoon pudding into bowls and serve warm or at room temperature. bonappetit.com
Blueberry-Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Blueberry preserves give this moist cake a pretty swirl and a fruity sweetness.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup blueberry preserves, plus 1 tablespoon melted preserves
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1.Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Beat in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
2.Spread all but 1/2 cup of the batter into the prepared pan. Using the back of a spoon, make a trough in the batter, all the way around the pan. Mix the 3/4 cup of blueberry preserves with the reserved batter and spoon it into the trough.
3.Bake the cake for about 1 hour, or until it begins to pull away from the pan and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, remove the pan and let cool completely. Sift the confectioners' sugar over the cake, drizzle with the melted blueberry preserves and serve. foodandwine.com
Caramel Pumpkin Pie
Caramelized sugar laces this classic with a sensuous richness, extraordinary in the context of this unbelievably light and delicately spiced pie. And since it’s cooked in a deep quiche pan, a single pie will serve 12 guests.
Active time: 45 min
Start to finish:6 hr (includes cooling)
1 (15-oz) can solid-pack pumpkin (not pie filling; a scant 2 cups)
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Directions Dough: 1. Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 4 tablespoons ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in processor) until incorporated.
2. Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated, then test again. (Do not overwork dough or pastry will be tough.)
3. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all of dough together with scraper and press into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill dough, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
4. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.
5. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 14-inch round, then fit into quiche pan and trim excess dough flush with rim of pan. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Pie Shell: Lightly prick bottom of shell all over with a fork, then line with foil and fill with pie weights. Put quiche pan on a baking sheet and bake pie shell until side is set and edge is pale golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove weights and foil and bake shell until bottom is golden, about 10 minutes more. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 30 minutes. Filling:
1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 3- to 3 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup, washing down side of pan occasionally with a pastry brush dipped in cold water and gently swirling pan (do not stir), until mixture is a deep golden caramel, about 10 minutes..
2. Reduce heat to moderate and carefully add 1 cup cream (mixture will bubble vigorously), stirring until caramel is dissolved. Stir in remaining cup cream and bring just to a simmer.
3. Whisk together pumpkin purée, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in hot cream mixture, then add eggs, whisking until combined well. Pour filling into cooled crust and bake until puffed 1 1/2 inches from edge and center is just set, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. (Pie will continue to set as it cools.) Remove side of pan before serving.
There are few things as universally synonomous with the Holiday season as good food. Often everyone's favorite part of the meal, dessert is the course that friends and family savor together over cups of delicious coffee or refreshing after-dinner cocktails. Looking for suggestions on drinks to pair with any of these recipes? Head over to Best Holiday Cocktails or Coffee Recipes of 2010 for more great ideas.
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