I know I talk about the weather a lot, but when you live in a rainy place that is really impacted by weather, it is often on your mind. Today is a rainy day, and it truly feels like the first day of winter for us. Walking around our apartment this morning I was struck by how cool and dim the light was, and had to remind myself that this is what peak-light would be like for the next few months. Sigh. I mean, low-rainy light makes for some great picture conditions, but it is hard to wake up in and can be tough to get used to.
In other news, my mom and Aunt Janice have been having a glorious time in Italy, and so far have only been scammed once, which is great. They are having lots of lovely wine and gelato, so I am pretty thrilled for them. Super jealous, but thrilled also. It is also incredibly sunny and hot in Italy right now… so there’s that. Sigh. I want to travel soon!
This past week I had my 26th birthday and it was nothing short of lovely. For a birthday on a Wednesday (middle-of-the-week celebrating is never fun) I had a wonderful day. At work, my lovely co-workers took me for lunch and then I received four chocolate bars in the days following my birthday, who doesn’t love birthday boxing days!
I am also proud to say that I finally submitted our passport stuff so soon I can be as international as I want! I’ve aways had a passport, though this time I let it deeply expire. In the future I wont let it expire and I can do the simple renewal process! Thank goodness for the increasing fees that encouraged me to get on top of this before July 1st! Speaking of which, I hope everyone in Canada has great Canada Day plans, and all you readers in the states, well you still have some planning time for your big day!
There are a lot of magical little places up in the Yukon. I was fortunate to work at the incomparable Alpine Bakery, and have struggled to find bread of that quality in either Calgary or Vancouver. There are incredible cafés, restaurants, and shops that would stand out even in the largest cities, and we are always thankful to have these gems in our small town. One such gem is the Chocolate Claim. First, they sell some of my favourite earrings from Lara Melnik, but they also have two types of muffins every day that are sure to knock your socks off (they also used to have a cranberry bread pudding muffin that is as close to heaven as I’ve been, I am not sure they still make it). When I was working at the Yukon Transportation Museum I used to go out of my way a few days a week to get a coffee and muffin. One of my favourites was their Raspberry Chocolate Chip, it had the perfect balance of tart and sweet. My ultimate favourite which seemed to appear less often was the Blackberry Cream Cheese. Their muffins were massive and packed with berries. But the best part was on top there was a hunk of cream cheese, baked into the muffin and lightly crusted with sugar. That nugget of cheesey goodness POPPED with the flavour of the muffin.
Well I am not sure how to properly title this. I had a heck of a time googling around to see if it had been done, done successfully, or was being warned against. I found all of the above but little other information. Bread pudding is one of my all time favourite desserts, which is weird, I know. Something about the creamy custard and the rich flavours. It just floats my boat. Anyway, yesterday was Gen’s birthday, so I felt the need to make every meal a fancy feast. My whole plan was to bake some brioche on Friday, slice it up and make french toast casserole on Saturday. Well that’s not how things panned out. I made a mess of the bread, we wont even speak of it. It tastes fine but it is under cooked and very dark… I need to go into a bread baking workshop, I am not doing it right. Anyway, so this morning I was out of luck for that dish, though I did make some delicious omelets with the left-over Jalapeño Popper Dip from the night before. But as I was making pizza (recipe tomorrow), I looked over at the leftover Coffee Cake Muffins and had a brain wave. I kind of winged it, but it turned out delightful. Not too sweet, the sugar in and on the muffins did the trick.
The pictures are not great because I wasn’t entirely sure that this was going to turn out. Also, I switched from the 9 x 13 pan to a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish that was deeper so the custard could reach more of the muffins. It was nice using already so tasty muffins because it meant I had to do little in the line of flavouring to make this tasty. You could certainly use other stale muffins, but the flavours will change substantially depending on the muffins you use. These had a nice hint of nutmeg and cinnamon, and they were studded with the walnuts I had used in the crumb topping. Awesome.
Muffin Bread Pudding
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- zest of ½ lemon
- 1/3 cup butter
- 7 slightly stale muffins, in this case my Coffee Cake Muffins
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp sugar (more if your muffins are less sweet)
- 1 cup cream
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- This pudding needs 15 minutes soaking time, follow the directions, let soak for 15 minutes and then bake.
- Break muffins into medium chunks and spread on a baking sheet, place in 350°F oven to toast for 8 minutes.
- Put the milk into a small pan with the vanilla. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat, add the lemon zest and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, butter a medium casserole dish and put the muffin chunks into it, dot with the butter.
- Beat the eggs together with the sugar until combined. Beat the milk, nutmeg, and the cream into the egg mixture. Pour over the muffins, add any nuts or fruit you might want, and leave for 15 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top.
- Place on middle rack and cook for 20-30 minutes. The pudding is done when it is browned on top and set. Serve with half-whipped cream (whip until it just starts to thicken)
Muffins crumbled with butter, then I realized this dish was not going to work.