Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December First!

To say that I like December First is a bit of an understatement.
It may even be better than Christmas.
It is the welcoming of the season, the snow; of clean white beauty and joy in the world around us.  I love it.
Traditionally, we start of the morning with cream of wheat parfaits (1 cup whole milk + 1/3 cup cream of wheat - simmer about 2 minutes until it begins to thicken.  Layer in a pretty glass with raspberry preserves and whipped cream).
We open an advent calendar to begin the countdown.  This year, I decided to put a little activity in each bucket - story time with a Christmas book, singing carols, making cookies; we started off the season by bringing treats to some friends!  We open some gifts, have some [more] treats, and make the house look like Christmas.  It's a lovely all-day affair.  This year, we'll be vacationing over Christmas so we didn't cut down our tree, but that is also a December First activity.
We did hang our garland with lovely glass icicles and  my favorite glass mercury ornaments (and my fairy - I've never found an angel I like, but this pretty little thing just... fits).

In honor of the start of this wonderful season, today's recipe is one of my favorites.  I serve it as breakfast, though some people insist that it is a dessert.  Warm comfort, and just makes you want to share.  It's that good.  If you've never had good bread pudding - and trust me, if you didn't like it, it's because it wasn't good - give this one a shot.  After all, it's Christmas!

Almond Croissant Bread Pudding

Preheat oven  to 350*.

Microwave until hot (about 3 minutes):

  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 T. sugar
Whisk in:
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto (in a pinch, amaretto syrup will do, but it will make your pudding a bit sweeter)
In a buttered deep dish pie plate:
  • 3 croissants, cut into 1" pieces
  • pour liquid on top
  •  sprinkle liberally with sugar (coarse sugar is divine and gives a lovely crunch, but lacking that, granulated works just fine)
Bake until set and golden, about 40-50 minutes.  It will deflate when you serve it.  Best warm.