Monday, April 27, 2009

Tsoureki Apricot Bread Pudding

Tsoureki bread pudding was inspired by a version with caramelized figs I had a few years ago at Pylos in NYC. While the dish is no longer on their menu, tsoureki bread pudding is a light dessert that I managed to make. I am not a baker so I am happy this actually turned out. Maybe it turned out because there was no real measuring involved. I found this recipe was very easy and had the elements I love best in dessert, a bit of sweetness and some fruit.

Tsoureki is an egg based sweat bread in the Challah family that is made for various celebrations, but most associated with Easter. It’s usually given as gifts to young children, but this bread is enjoyed by kids of all ages. Most homes have their own version of tsoureki and store bought can also be good. I am partial to a dear family friend (Kuria Anthoula) rendition as I believe she uses a bit of orange zest- not that she would ever reveal her real recipe.

I have never made bread pudding and was pleased with the results, but would however recommend this be served warm. The dried apricots cooked in a bit of Metaxa (Greek cognac) brought a some sweetness while the walnuts provided crunch. I found the proportions for the milk/egg portion of this dish in the Gourmet cookbook and it turned out a bit soggy so I ended up using only half of the milk/egg mixture. Served with a dusting of powdered sugar, this takes me back to great time in NYC.

Tsoureki Bread Pudding
Inspired by: Pylos, Tsoureki with Caramelized Figs
Tsoureki: Courtesy of Kuria Anthoula
Bread Pudding Adapted from: Gourmet
Serves 6

Half loaf tsoureki or challah bread cut into 1 1/2 in. pieces
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into fourths
1/4 cup Metaxa of other high quality cognac
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Dash of cinnamon
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 325 F. Whisk together the milk, butter, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Heat a small skillet over low heat add the apricots. Cook for a minute or 2. Carefully pour in metaxa and cook until liquid is absorbed. Combine tsoureki pieces, cooked apricots, milk/egg mixture, top with walnuts. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Dust with a bit of powdered sugar and serve warm.


Peter M said...

I too really enjoyed Pylos when in NYC...nice little twists to the Greek food and love the decor!

I've seen bread pudding applications for leftover Tsoureki and you've reminded me to try it out....thanks for the inspiration.

BMK said...

This looks absolutely delicious! What a great bread pudding variation!

elly said...

What an awesome idea. Definitely makes me wish my oven worked to make some with my leftover tsoureki. I ended up just eating it plain or with nutella. lol.

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