Monday, December 5, 2011

Reconstructing Fruit Cake 101: Chocolate Amaretto Bread Pudding

Traditional Christmas Fruit Cake
Ahhhh, the fruit cake.  Often used as a term for someone who is crazy, off the wall, or just a little "different," this old and often misunderstood Christmas tradition has graced almost everyone's holiday table at sometime or another.   Normally a chewy, stale loaf, found on the day-old bread rack at the grocery store, it's nasty red and green maraschino cherries leak their gallons of food coloring all throughout the bread and leave your tongue looking like a rainbow.

A really BAD looking fruitcake
First off, let me say that there are some REALLY great fruitcake recipes out there.  There's even a "Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake" website! So, this week, we're going to look at all its aspects, some failures, some victories, and what to do when one of the ugly ducklings shows up in your mailbox from your great aunt Edna.

To kick it off, we're going to start with some reconstruction.  We're going to give you a few things you can do with a fruitcake to "disguise" them and make them look and taste delicious. The three keys are...distraction, distraction and distraction.

When I've got bread or cake that I don't know what to do with, the first thing I think of is bread pudding.  It's easy and quick to make, and a wide array of flavors can be added to change it up and make it unique.  Liquor always helps too.  Today, we're pulling out all the stops.

Chocolate Amaretto Bread Pudding

Now again, DISTRACTION is what we're looking for, so to re-name and re-create, I'm calling this a Chocolate Amaretto Bread'd never even know that there's fruitcake in it!  The strong Amaretto flavoring comes from Almond Extract, so if you're not a fan, you can use half, or just completely eliminate it.

Chocolate Amaretto Bread Pudding

Prep Time: 20 minutes / Cook Time: 60 minutes / Servings: 8

Chocolate Amaretto
Bread Pudding
  • 1 pound loaf of fruitcake, maraschino cherries removed
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/3 stick of butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup of Kahlua coffee liqueur
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  1. Spray a 13x9 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Remove the maraschino cherries (and any other undesirable bits) from the fruitcake.  Break into small pieces and place in the baking dish.  Mix in about 3/4 of the chocolate chips and combine.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, butter and Kahlua.  Stir until combined.
  4. Add the sugar, brown sugar and cocoa powder and mix until combined.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl combine eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, and pumpkin pie spice.  Beat eggs until all ingredients are smooth and combined.  Add the egg mixture to the milk mixture and stir until combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the baking dish with the fruitcake. Let the fruitcake soak up most of the milk mixture (this may take a few minutes depending on the rubbery density of your fruitcake).
  7. Place the mixture in the oven and bake for about 1 hour or until the center is just set and a knife come out clean when inserted into the center of the pudding.
  8. To serve:  Whip the heavy cream and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form.  Place a warm piece of bread pudding into a serving bowl or dish and top with whip cream and a few of the remaining chocolate chips (I also used some brown sugar, espresso powder and chocolate shavings for garnish).
Chocolate Amaretto Bread Pudding

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