Dec 8, 2017

Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

1 loaf crusty (day old) Italian bread, cut into crouton sized pieces
1 medium butternut squash, cubed into 1” pieces
5 oz Baby Spinach
1-2 tbl olive oil
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
4 eggs
4 Cups of shredded cheese (I used Fontina, Pecorino, Mozzarella, and Parmesan)
1-2 tbl fresh sage, minced
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Ramekins or casserole dish
Nonstick cooking spray
Freshly grated Grana Padano

Set the oven to 375 F on convection mode and spray the ramekins/casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside on a sheet tray.
Toss the butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread flat on a parchment lined sheet tray. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25 minutes or until nicely caramelized. 

While the squash is roasting, prepare the custard base.  In a large bowl, combine the milk, cream, eggs, and spices, whisk together.  Add the cubed bread and set aside.  Allow the bread to absorb as much of the custard as possible.
Bring a saute pan to a medium high temperature, and 1 tbl olive oil.  Once the oil is glistening, add the spinach plus a little salt and pepper.   The spinach will wilt quickly, remove it from the heat and set aside.  
Once the butternut squash has been removed from the oven and cooled slightly, add to the bowl with the bread and custard along with the spinach and sage.  

Lastly, add the cheese and mix all the way through. 

Transfer the bread pudding to the ramekins or casserole dish and transfer to the oven on the sheet tray (to catch any spillover).  The ramekins will cook in 25 minutes, the casserole dish will take around 45-50 minutes.  Remove from the oven and grate fresh Grana Padano cheese on top. Allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.  ENJOY!

Gingerbread Spiced Egg Nog

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch of Kosher salt
6-8 egg yolks (more or less depending on how rich you would like it)
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbl dark molasses
1 ½ oz Rum Chata (Optional)
½ oz Ginger Brandy (Optional)

Fresh made whipped cream (for Garnish)
Gingerbread cookies (for Garnish)

Combine the milk, cream, and cinnamon stick into a saucepan and bring to just under a boil.  While that comes to temperature combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk until you achieve a pale yellow color and the sugar has dissolved. 
Once the milk/cream mixture heats up, add the spices, vanilla, salt, and molasses, mix through.
Now temper the eggs by slowly ladling the milk/cream mixture into the sugar/egg yolk mixture by whisking vigorously and pouring slowly. This step will prevent the eggs from scrambling.

Next transfer the mixture back into the saucepan, and bring the temperature up to 170 F whisking periodically through the process.  A digital or candy thermometer comes in handy for this step.  Now remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.  Chill and serve with fresh whipped cream and gingerbread cookies.  Happy Holidays!

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