Turkish Style Toasty Bread Pudding

The cheapest dessert you'll ever make...and love.
you didn't even know love was gonna play a factor in this, did you?
It will come as no surprise to you that I have had trouble getting off my mind a certain visit to a pastry shop in Istanbul wherein I ate four of the various offerings in one sitting (ok, I had John "Tapeworm" Amory helping me).

It was with this incident occurrence in mind that I kept staring at a huge loaf of white bread wondering what on earth I could do with it. White bread is not something the Chowgypsy typically purchases. As nutritionally devoid as it is, I would rather save the space in my stomach for something more flavorful...like chocolate or spaghetti.

If I'm gonna waste stomach space, I'm gonna waste it right.

But I couldn't just let a huge loaf of bread go to the dogs...so what if I somehow made the bread itself more flavorful?
You make me think things.
Enter: Ekmek Kadayifi.

Ekmek Kadayifi is a traditional Turkish dessert and it is in fact one of the beauties we consumed at Sakara Tatlicisi, so I decided to make an American "white bread" rendition of it. The dessert typically calls for "kadayif," or half-baked strings of dough (they look kind of like rice noodles) that expand as you add syrup and hot water. You end up with a slightly crunchy, syrup-soaked "cake" (if it involves copious amounts of syrup, it's probably from Turkey).

But as kadayif isn't very accessible in North America, I decided to create a rendition with plain ol' overly-abundant white bread.
The result is slightly dangerous. And what else would you expect out of sugar-soaked bread that starts off with a crispy crunchy bite and then yeilds to a moist, almost pudding-like interior?

You should probably brush your teeth after every bite. Just sayin'. And since we're brushing, feel free to throw a little ice cream or mascarpone in the mix.

I realize that this isn't a typical Chowgypsy dessert. I like health. I like chocolate.

But when life gives you white bread, don't just be unhealthy by eating boring ol' toast. Make it worth your while--be unhealthy by eating Turkey-Inspired Toasty Bread Pudding.

And here's the other thing: this dessert is extremely inexpensive.
The filling-less version of the most nutritionally-devoid dessert I've ever made. Yes!
Basically: Sugar. Water. Bread.

And here's one more other  thing: It's easy.
White bread heading into the makeover chamber
Sugar and syrup sandwich, anyone?
The gist: Make a simple syrup. Lay bread out in a pan. Pour syrup over bread. Bake.

So with holidays on the way, something tells me that you might be looking for an easy, cheap way to feed a lot of people...

You're in luck.

Turkish Style Toasty Bread Pudding
Ingredients
  • About one loaf of old, borderline stale white bread (It should be a dense country loaf, not something that is already "soggy" like wonderbread)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbs sugar, divided
  • 2-3 tbs honey or maple syrup
  • Cinnamon and cocoa power to garnish
  • Optional: 8 oz cream cheese or mascarpone
  • Optional: Slivered almonds

  • Look ma, no filling!
    Look ma, I have eight cavities!
    Directions
    Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C

    Bring the three cups of sugar, water, and lemon juice to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved, about 7-10 minutes. Let cool while you proceed.*

    Cut the loaf into 1-1 1/2 inch slices (if your bread is on the softer size, go for a thicker cut) and layer a 9x9 or 9x13 baking pan with the slices. Spread on the cream cheese or mascarpone and slivered almonds (if using), and sprinkle on cinnamon and two tablespoons of sugar. Add a second layer of bread slices, sprinkle on one tablespoon of sugar, then ladle on just under 2/3rds of the simple syrup.

    Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, ladle on half of the remaining syprup, recover, and bake for another 15 minutes.

    Remove from oven and turn the heat up to low broil. Uncover, pour the rest of the syrup over the bread, drizzle syrup/honey over the top, and sprinkle on the remaining one tablespoon of sugar. Once oven is preheated, place uncovered pan on second-to-highest rack (about six inches) from the top.

    Bake until brown and crisped all over the top, about 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it as all broilers are not created equal.  If some edges start to burn, dab some butter on them and return to heat. A fully golden and toasted top is what provides the contrast for the soft interior of the dessert.

    Remove from heat and sprinkle cinnamon and a bit of cocoa powder over the top. Serve with ice cream, cream cheese, or mascarpone (unless you used it inside the dessert). Typically the dish is served with dense and thick heavy cream.
    SOMEBODY GET THE FLOSS
    *There is a delicate balance between a "soggy" and a "pudding-like" texture of the bread, so it might be beneficial to make extra syrup. This way, if your bread happens to be more absorbent than the type I used, you can add more syrup so that the bread breaks down enough. You can always take a bite from the bottom layer as you're cooking to test. I won't tell.

    The Savings: This is one of the cheapest desserts in the history of desserts. It's great for a crowd and it's wonderful even if you skip the slivered almonds (like I did). Skipping the creamy filling is also a money-saver, and serving with something cool on the side is just as yummy. Even whipped cream will do the trick. It's such an easy recipe you can also experiment with other additions such as berries, ricotta, and....NUTELLA.


    Enjoy--and don't forget to thank our new friend Turkey!

    2 comments:

    1. so you are at Istanbul now ! What a beautifull trip since last spring in France...
      Signed Thierry, (1st host in france, do you remember ?)

      ReplyDelete
    2. Well, actually, we just got to Greece! We are on the move...and of course we remember you fondly! :)

      ReplyDelete

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