How To Use Up A Whole Bunch Of Jam At Once: Spiked Peach Bread Pudding

Every once in awhile, the kitchen kind of gets out of control with my projects: Eggs everywhere. A million jars of jam.  The counter cluttered with stale ends of experiments in bread-baking.It’s rainy and cold today, but I didn’t make this dessert because I wanted to have something sweet and warm;  I made it because I had to figure out something to do with all the crap lying around in the kitchen.The only sweetener in this bread pudding is jam, so you might need to adjust it for your taste a little bit.  I used a peach jam that was a standard high-sugar recipe for this, so if you want to use a low sugar or no sugar jam, you might want to add more (or add some honey).Spiked Peach Bread Pudding

Cook Time: 1 1/2 hrs.

Serves: a lot

Ingredients:

  • 8 c. bread, cubed, from assorted odds and ends of stale bread
  • 5 c. milk
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1/3 c. whiskey
  • 1 pint jar of peach jam plus more for serving
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. amaretto liqueur
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • garnish: powdered sugar, jam and mint leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10″ cast iron skillet.  Spread cubed bread evenly in the skillet.  In a pot on medium heat, combine the milk, sour cream, whiskey, jam, lemon juice, nutmeg, amaretto, and vanilla.  Bring to a low simmer for a few minutes and whisk everything together.  Once the sour cream and the jam have melted into the milk, turn off the heat and let the milk mixture cool for a few minutes.  Put the beaten eggs in a large mixing bowl.  This part is important: you can’t just combine the beaten eggs and the hot milk mixture together or the eggs will cook wrong and ruin the consistency of the custard.  Make sure that you follow these instructions here: Slowly pour the milk mixture into the mixing bowl with the eggs in a thin stream and whisk everything constantly while you pour. This is the custard for the pudding.

Pour the custard over the cubed bread and let it sit for 20 minutes to soak, then bake the bread pudding at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until the custard is cooked through.

Serve topped with powdered sugar and a spoonful of jam.

Note: All the important numbers (350, 375, 400, 450) have rubbed off the dial on my oven, and it doesn’t cook evenly or at the correct temperature anyway, so my cooking time might be off.  When I smelled the faintest bit or burning only twenty minutes into cooking, I realized that I had the dial set on, oh, 460? No good.  I caught it in time, though. I majorly need to buy an oven thermometer.

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Marlborough Pie

I’m still laid up with a busted ankle today.  Hopefully this is the last day of this, but I’m still going stir-crazy in a motel room in town.  I’m going to try heading back to the farm tomorrow, but I’m not totally sure how it’s going to work.  I grudgingly let a bunch of boys come and watch the 49ers game on the motel tv since the other option seemed like it wouldn’t go over very well (which was this: “… but how am I supposed to sit in bed and feel sorry for myself if I have a bunch of laughing, happy people around?”)

I finally unwrapped my foot this morning and poked it a little bit, which was exciting. It’s a nice blue-ish gray, a shade that might be called Weathered New England Beach House, and still pretty puffy . Other than poking at my foot, the only other productive activity I can think of is writing more blog posts.  I’ve already replied to e-mails and looked at new recipes and ordered some supplies for holiday craft projects…   I think writing about pie is a reasonable next step.
Anyway, this is such a delicious pie recipe that despite the fact that all of these pictures are old, from the Days Before The Blog, I’m going to share it.  I’m sure I’ll make it again this fall and update these pictures with something newer and fancier.

Marlborough Pie is a traditional recipe from New England. It may not look like much at all in the above picture, but it’s one of the best pies I’ve ever eaten. I heard a dude on NPR do a program about regional apple pies and  he said Marlborough Pie was his favorite.  The crust can be either a traditional pate brisee or puff pastry, and the filling is this wonderfully luscious and sophisticated, slightly lemony apple custard. It’s a perfect way to use home-canned apple sauce and fresh eggs to make a wonderful fall dessert.   It’s somehow rich and light tasting at the same time, and you could serve it after a big holiday meal without sending everyone spiraling into food comas.

My family has been eating this pie for as long as I can remember.  We used to go to Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts every Thanksgiving, a fantastically nerdy family vacation.  Looking back, it was actually pretty fun.  I remember the crisp November air while we walked to all these different houses and watched “costumed historians” do reenactments of Thanksgiving dinners from the 1800’s.  As an eight year old, I was always super annoyed that the actors were eating turkey and pie while I was walking around in the cold.

Eight Year Old Me: “Hey Lady, lemme have some of that pie.”

Grownup: “No.”

Later in the evening, though, we would go to the big restaurant in the village and have a wonderful dinner.  Another traditional New England dessert we’d have was Indian Pudding, which looks like a bowl of gross brown schlop, but is actually this steamy spiced molasses and cornmeal custard served with vanilla ice cream.  Everyone should also be eating this, it’s delicious.  As a child, I really thought our Sturbridge trips were so dorky and annoying, but as an adult, I think it’s pretty great that my parents took us there so many times.

Marlborough Pie

Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t call it Apple Custard Tart or something so it doesn’t remind me of cigarettes.

Serves: 8

Cook Time: around 2 hours, including baking time

Ingredients:

One single 9″ Pie Crust: Use whichever recipe is your favorite, or click here for instructions from Martha (please note that this recipe is for a double pie crust, not a single pie crust, so split it in half).

For the Custard Filling:

  • 3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce*
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 fresh eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. sherry (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest. Gradually beat in the eggs, lemon juice, applesauce, sherry, and heavy cream and ginger.

Lay out the pie crust in a 9″ pie dish. Pour in the custard filling.  Put the pie in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Reduce heat to 350 and cook for 45 more minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

This pie will set much better if you let it cool  and don’t serve it piping hot out of the oven.

*I use a chunky gravenstein applesauce from our pantry for this, but if you want to have a perfectly smooth custard you can puree the applesauce first or even run it through a chinois to take out any clumps.  I like leaving it chunky and calling it rustic.

 

 

Chevre Cheesecake with Pear Jam

This is the dessert, right here: the cheesecake to end all cheesecakes.

Fresh ginger, vanilla and lemon zest beg to be topped with a rich autumn flavor like d’anjou pear jam (or fig jam, or quince would be nice too).

Plus it has a whole pound of goat cheese in it.

Seriously, who’s gonna argue with that?

Chevre Cheesecake

This recipe is an adaptation of this one here, from Ile France Cheese Company.

Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hrs.

Serves: 10

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 stick of butter (plus extra to grease the pan)
  • 1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs, see below for instructions
  • 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger

For the filling:

  • 1 lb. goat cheese, at room temperature (I use Shamrock Chevre from my friend Anna)
  • 1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature, preferable from pastured chickens for the richness of the yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • zest and juice from one lemon
  • 1/2 c. pear-cardamom jam, for serving
  • 1/2 c. confectioners sugar, for serving

To make graham cracker crumbs, crush 10 graham crackers with a rolling pin or in a food processor. Melt 1 stick of butter in a medium saucepan. In a large bowl, combine butter, graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 c. confectioners sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Mix everything together thoroughly and press into the bottom of a greased 10″ spring form pan.  Put the crust in the fridge to chill while you make the filling. 

(If you have a stand-mixer, it helps with this step:)  Cream together goat cheese and cream cheese. Slowly add the sugar and eggs, alternating between the two and making sure to combine everything thoroughly. Mix until light and fluffy. Add the lemon, vanilla and ginger and mix well.

Put aluminum foil around the bottom of the pan with the crust in it and place the wrapped pan on a cookie sheet. (Don’t skip this step unless you want sugary good all over your oven that smokes for days until you clean it out. Not like I did that or anything)

Pour the cheese filling into the pan. Bake for 1 hr. When the cake is done, it will have a subtle golden color and still move very slightly in the center if you give the pan a gentle shake.

Serve topped with pear-cardamom jam and a dusting of powdered sugar.