For Wednesday, August 22, 2012
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 14, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 11:57 a.m. HST, Aug 14, 2013
My adventures in Crock-Pot cooking have been lacking in dessert ideas. So thank you, Deborah Schneider, for your new cookbook, "The Mexican Slow Cooker," and the recipe on Page 123 for a chocolate bread pudding.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Schneider, chef at SOL Cocina restaurants in California and Arizona, respects the slow-cooker for what it does best: meld and deepen flavors, like a pot simmering on the back of the stove all day. In a Mexican kitchen, she writes, that pot is called an "olla," and a slow-cooker plays that role "in an easy-to-use form."
The book (Ten Speed Press, $19.99) is full of recipes that build on this "olla" function rather than promise that your cooker can perform miracles (such as take a hunk of meat and turn it into a perfect pot roast with no help from you). Instead, Schneider has you slow-cook chicken or beef, then finish your enchiladas in the oven or your tostadas on the stovetop. Or take the liquid from the pot and make a mole sauce in the blender. More effort, better results.
As for the bread pudding, it's luscious. If you're a choco-phile you will love it. If you're a moderate chocolate lover, a scoop of vanilla ice cream will balance the richness.
The recipe calls for a good deal of stovetop cooking to make the basic pudding. And you will have to look for Mexican chocolate — flavored with cinnamon and other spices and sold in discs to make hot chocolate. The Nestle brand, called Abuelita, is sold in a 19-ounce package of six discs, in the Mexican foods aisle at supermarkets. I found it at Safeway.
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3 cups whole milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 disk Mexican chocolate, broken into pieces (sold in the Hispanic aisle of supermarkets)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
4 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
2 ripe bananas, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
8 cups cubed firm white bread
Grease with shortening the bottom and sides of a 5- to 6-quart slow-cooker insert. Line with foil, then grease foil.
In 2-quart saucepan over low heat, warm milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until steaming but not boiling. Turn off heat and whisk in Mexican chocolate and 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips, whisking until chocolate melts.
Let cool to lukewarm, then stir in eggs.
Melt butter in skillet. Add bananas and brown sugar and saute several minutes until bananas are glazed.
Place bread in large mixing bowl. Add chocolate mixture, bananas and remaining chocolate chips. Stir well. Pour mixture into foil-lined cooker and cook on low 4 to 4-1/2 hours, until puffed and firm. For last 30 minutes, open lid a crack to let steam escape and firm up pudding. Let cool 30 minutes.
Life ends of foil to lift pudding onto serving plate. Turn upside down, peel off foil and turn right side up.
Nutritional information unavailable.
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