Monday, July 5, 2010

Tomato Bread Pudding

Serve alongside a roast chicken or beef, with steamed green beans.

1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, squeeze-cut
1/2 cup juice from canned tomatoes
6 ounces tomato paste
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
1 day-old French baguette, about 7 ounces
1 tomato, sliced in 6 slices
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T butter
2 T fresh oregano, minced
2 T fresh thyme, minced
1 T fresh sage, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
olive oil

Preparing the tomato bread pudding:
Using a 7-inch diameter deep tart pan to measure, cut pieces of crust from the bread about 1/2-inch thick, as wide as the loaf and about 2/3 as long as the pan is tall.

Butter the pan and stand these pieces in sort of a fence around the perimeter of the pan, with the cut sides facing inward. Cut the rest of the bread in 1/2-inch cubes and place them in the well created by the bread "fence." Compress the cubes into the pan with your fingers. The bread cubes when compressed should be about even with the top of the bread fence pieces.

Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon butter slowly, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent.

Mix herbs together.

Beat the egg and yolks briefly with a fork and then mix well with the cream, cooked onions, canned tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato paste, garlic and 3/4 of the herbs. Correct seasoning.

Pour cream-tomato mixture over the bread, to cover the bread. There may be some left over, depending on the size of the pan and how tightly packed the bread is. Any leftover custard can be cooked as directed below with or without bread in buttered ramekins, if you like, or used as an enrichment for a soup.

Allow pudding to sit for 30 minutes, then set in a pan of boiling water that reaches halfway up the sides of the tart pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 45 minutes. After the first 20 minutes, lay the tomato slices over the top of the pudding and sprinkle with the remaining herbs.

Paint tomato slices with olive oil when the pudding comes out of the oven and then allow pudding to rest about 30 minutes before unmolding.


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