This weekend we had some friends over for make-your-own-pizza night. The hubby rolled out some individual-size pizza pies and we each topped them as we wished. It worked out well since I don’t think any two people in the group eat the same thing. Since we were heating up the Big Green Egg, I figured I would also cook up some dessert when we were done with the pizzas.
At the blogging conference I went to a couple of week ago, King’s Hawaiian Bread was a sponsor. I didn’t make it to the dessert party they sponsored but I heard the bread pudding was quite tasty. I really didn’t need much convincing — I heart Hawaiian bread. When I was a little girl, I went with my best friend to visit her grandmother. The first morning we were there, grandma served us sliced Hawaiian bread, slathered in real butter and toasted until the edges were brown. I was pretty sure it was the best thing I had ever in my whole life eaten. Just thinking about it now makes me feel happy deep down inside.
I came home and informed my mom that she absolutely had to buy Hawaiian bread. She did but — I think I have mentioned my mother’s culinary skill before — it just didn’t taste the same spread with margarine and mostly burnt. I would have a roll here and there over the years but my love didn’t begin to rekindle until I made some Chinese-style BBQ Pork Sandwiches awhile back with Hawaiian bread hamburger buns. Now I was ready to tackle some Hawaiian bread pudding.
Bread pudding can be a truly bland and lifeless dish if not prepared correctly. It has to be sweet and it cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to turn to mush. Ideally, it will have a crusty top and custardy center and plenty of cinnamon and sugar to make your taste buds happy. I knew it would be perfect to cook in my cast iron skillet on the Egg.
I’m not going to give you exact measurements on this one because you can scale it easily based on how many mouths you need to feed or how much (ideally stale) bread you have on hand. I had a little leftover cinnamon bread that was nice and stale and I bought some King’s Hawaiian rolls to throw in. (I ended up using eight rolls.) Since the rolls were new, I cubed everything up (eyeballing the amount I would need to fill my 12-inch cast iron skillet) and put it in my toaster oven to bake on low heat (200 degrees F) for about 15 minutes. Once that was done, everything was nice and dry — which is key to keeping away from the mush factor. I buttered my skillet and spread the bread evenly in it.
Then I scoped out my available wet ingredients. I ended up whisking together two eggs, a pint of half & half, a handful of brown sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a solid sprinkle or five of cinnamon. I sometimes also add cold coffee or Kahlua. The point is to make enough liquid to saturate the bread but leave a bit dry at the top. It should look something like this:
I had set up my Egg for indirect heat at about 400 degrees. I put the skillet on it and left it for about 20 minutes. (No pictures of this part because it was already dark outside.) I poked it a bit and it seemed set in the middle and brown on top so I pulled it off. Here’s what done looks like:
I scooped a serving into each bowl and drizzled with some Melissa’s White Chocolate Dessert Topping. You could also whip up some icing or even drizzle with maple syrup. I snapped this pic of my serving before it all disappeared.
People will think you slaved over this. Don’t tell ’em any different.