Recipe inspired by: http://kimkushner.com/blog/sticky-date-caramel-bread-pudding/
Recipe made by: Robbie Shorr
Now, some of you may be asking, “What in the world is that?”. And even though I made and ate this recipe, I’m still not sure I can answer that question with anything other than “delicious.” I think the best way to explain this dish is to tell the story of how it came to be.
There I was, graduating college in 2 weeks, with finals to take, goodbyes to say, and plenty of packing to do. In addition, I also had a semester’s-worth of accumulated odds and ends in my pantry and fridge, the result of overbuying for other recipes and just general eating the past 5 months. Mainly, what was staring me in the face, almost daring me to find a creative way to use them, was a whole challah, marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, jelly, dates, and butter. Now, finding a way to use all of that (let alone in the same recipe!) seemed like a sickeningly sweet logic puzzle. However, once the pun that is the title of this post arose in my head, I knew what I had to do. What resulted from that sickeningly sweet logic puzzle was a dessert with all of that sweetness packed into some super-gooey bites.
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 challah, preferably a week stale
- 5 eggs
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Peanut butter
- Marshmallow fluff
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a baking tin.
- Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan.
- Using your hands, remove the pits from the dates.
- Once the water is boiling, add the dates and half of the baking soda. Cook on medium for 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining baking soda and cook on medium for 5 minutes. Allow the date mixture to cool.
- Tear the challah into chunks and place it in the baking tin.
- Beat together the eggs, a 1/4 cup of the heavy cream, cinnamon, and vanilla in a bowl.
- Once the date mixture is cooled, add it in portions to the egg mixture, mixing to combine after each addition.
- Pour the custard mixture over the challah, mixing the challah around with your hands to make sure it’s evenly coated, and pushing the challah into the custard to aid absorption. (The reason that bread pudding or french toast works is because the stale bread, which has lost water molecules while sitting on the shelf, wants to absorb the wet custard in order to regain water molecules and maximize the number of microstates available inside the molecular matrix of the bread. Crazy!).
- Cover the baking tin with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 35 minutes.
- Remove the baking tin from the oven but leave the oven on.
- Dollop peanut butter, jelly, and marshmallow fluff on top of the challah. Spread to the best of your ability.
- Cover the baking tin, place it back in the oven, and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.
- Add the brown sugar, butter, and remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream to a pot. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes, or until the desired thickness is achieved.
- Drizzle the caramel sauce over the finished bread pudding.
In lieu of the traditional post-recipe sections, I want to enumerate how this dish, which is in fact the last recipe of my senior year, encapsulates the guiding principles of Kosher Kollege.
- Accessibility: I made this dish just by poking around my pantry and fridge! Even better, almost everything here can be purchased at campus mini-groceries.
- Customizability: In that same vein, if you don’t have one of the toppings, it can easily be replaced by something you have around or something you like more.
- Sharability: This dish is perfect for a group of friends to sit around and scoop bites of.
- Efficiency: The custard can be made while the dates are cooking, and the caramel can be made while the bread pudding is baking. That way, there’s no wasted time.
- Chemistry: As some more prudent readers may have noticed, this recipe takes advantage of both the second law of thermodynamics and Boltzmann’s equation, two fundamental principles of physical chemistry.
- Ease: While this recipe has multiple components, it is really just a bunch of mixing ingredients together.
- Dairy: Since the custard involves almond milk, you might as well go all out and make a dairy caramel too.
- Down time: During the longer baking step, you have time to do homework or watch an episode of your favorite show on Netflix.
- Price: Since this dessert is meant to be made of food you already have lying around, you aren’t paying anything extra to make it.
- Whimsicality: When you get down to it, this is just a combo fluffernutter and PB&J turned into a bread pudding. It doesn’t get much better than that.
If you’ve made it this far, I’d like to say thank you; anyone who had ever read even just once sentence on Kosher Kollege has brought a smile to my face. This semester of cooking could not have happened without your support, and I hope that you’ll continue to follow the blog in whatever direction it heads next.