Gluten free comfort food. It means something different to each of us.
Wait a sec. Are you thinking that a gluten free diva never needs comfort food? Pshaw. Trust me, I have my diva moments of feeling down in the dump of dumps. Ooh, that was a whole lot of unplanned alliteration.
Such a day happened to me on Thursday. Normally, I would’ve made homemade chicken soup, freshly baked bread, chocolate chip cookies, or mac & cheeze, all gluten free, of course. And not all at the same time:). But this time, I made bread pudding, a whole other level of gluten free comfort food.
In my book, bread pudding is more decadent than the usual comfort fare. And it requires a little more effort to make it, but because my need for comfort food extended over two days, I had time to plan. You see, the bread has to be just on the near side of stale. I like my bread pudding on the dry side. If you prefer a moister bread pudding, simply add more milk to the liquid mixture in the recipe.
Simple bread pudding would have been perfect, but then at some point in the comfort food planning, I decided to up the ante and create a fancier version of my bread pudding. Pull out the Grand Marnier. Slice up the figs. Chill the coconut milk. Oh yeah. This is gonna be good. This is gonna do what comfort food is supposed to do. And it did. In spades.When I gently and gingerly dug my spoon into my first bowl of Gluten Free Fig & Coconut Bread Pudding, my bowl of warmed deliciousness, the clouds began to lift, the sun began to shine, and a choir of angels could be faintly heard singing “With A Little Help From My Friends” (can you name the Beatles album it comes from?). And if that weren’t enough, lucky duckies that we are, after we helped ourselves to a few hefty helpings, there was still enough left for breakfast this morning.
My bread of choice for this gluten free bread pudding recipe came from a loaf of Breads From AnnaÂ gluten free, corn free, dairy free, soy free, nut free, and rice freeÂ bread mix. If you’ve been with me for awhile, you know how I feel about Anna’s bread. It rocks my gluten free diva world. But feel free to use another type of gluten free bread. In fact, I think you could even use pumpkin bread (Anna’s gluten free pumpkin mix is excellent), though I’d decrease the sugar and/or stevia in my recipe, since pumpkin bread has a fair amount of sweetener in it to begin with. Oh man, but talk about decadent!
Fig & Coconut Bread Pudding
6 dried figs, sliced very thin
1/4 c. Grand Marnier
5 c. gluten free bread, cubed (see beginning of instructions below for prepping the bread)
2 14 oz. cans light coconut milk (one can room temperature, 2nd can chilled overnight)
14 oz. almond milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 c. coconut sugar
5 drops NuNaturals stevia
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamon
zest from one orange
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp coconut oil (or Earth Balance), melted
1/4 c. confectionary sugar
5 drops NuNaturals stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract
To prep and dry bread in advance: Leave a loaf of gluten free bread overnight on your counter, uncovered. In morning, cube bread and place ona large baking tray. Bake in preheated 350Ëš oven 10 – 15 minutes (bake for a shorter amount of time if you want bread less dry). Use leftover cubes to make croutons.
To make bread pudding:
Preheat oven to 350Ëš. Set aside two pans – one 9 x 11 pan for bread pudding, and one larger pan for bain marie (water bath).
Put sliced figs and Grand Marnier in a small, shallow bowl, mixing to coat figs with orange-flavored liquor. Set aside.
Put cubed, dried bread in a medium-sized bowl. Combine room temperature can of coconut milk with almond milk and then add to bread cubes, coating thoroughly. Set aside. Cubes will soak up the milk while you prepare egg mixture.
In another medium-sized bowl, beat eggs, coconut sugar, 5 drops of stevia, ginger,
cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, orange zest, vanilla extract, and sea salt, blending to combine thoroughly.
Pour this mixture into the bread mixture, followed by fig mixture, including Grand Marnier used to soak the figs. Using a large spoon, mix everything together.
Melt 2 tbsp of coconut oil and add to smaller prepared pan, making sure to coat bottom and sides of pan. Pour bread/egg mixture into pan and place into larger roasting pan. Pour hot water into larger roasting pan, about 1/3 of the way up pan in which you’ve put uncooked bread pudding. Avoid pouring water into pudding. Place nested pans into preheated oven. Bake 40 – 50 minutes, or until egg mixture has set. If you prefer your bread pudding less dry and more like soft pudding, cook for a shorter duration.
For Coconut Whipped Cream:
Remove the chilled can of light coconut milk from refrigerator. Open can and immediately pour thinner liquid into a cup, setting aside for another use. Remove remaining thicker cream left behind in can and put in a small mixing bowl (if your can of coconut milk is ALL thick cream, all the better!). Add confectionary sugar, stevia, and vanilla. Beat on high for five minutes. Put it in refrigerator for 30 minutes and then beat again on high for another five minutes. This will allow you to achieve the consistency of smooth, dairy-free whipped cream. Adjust sweetener per your taste.
Serve your Fig & Coconut Bread Pudding warmed, with a dollop of whipped cream on the top. Oh, and by the way, unused bread cubes can be made into croutons (should I dedicate a post to making gluten free croutons?? Let me know if you’re interested).
Smile. Life ain’t so bad. As for me, remembering to count my blessings helped me out of the funk. I have way more than any diva could hope for.