Happy Pi Day! (and Non-Pie Pumpkin Pie)

Desserts and Sweets, Recipes

March 14th is a fun day of the year for me — it’s one of the few holidays that encourage the combination of geeking out AND cooking! You would think I’d bake a pi(e) today, but I thought I’d finally try making my own version of the crust-less parfait / mousse / pudding type pumpkin desserts I’ve only read about before today. I know, I know – pumpkin is usually an autumn flavor. However, I happened to have a can of pumpkin puree in our pantry, and I just love pumpkin pie! I also love Greek yogurt, so this is a perfect match:

What tastes like a pumpkin pie but doesn’t look or feel like a pumpkin pie? That delicious concoction!

Ingredients:

4 oz plain Greek yogurt (I used a honey flavored one)

4 oz canned pumpkin puree

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

(or 1/2 to 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, if you have it)

3.14 tsp sugar (haha just kidding. Start with 1 tsp of your favorite sweetener and add to taste. I used agave.)

This will probably be one of the easiest recipes we post. Grab a small bowl. Toss everything in. Stir it up. Sweeten or adjust to your personal taste.

In this dessert, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts! (Yes, more math references for Pi Day.)

And voila – a pumpkin pie yogurt parfait mousse.. thing. I’ve yet to come up with a good name for this.You could also prepare this in advance and chill it in the refrigerator. I wish I had the patience or foresight for that.

Whatever you call it, this is a great way to be festive for Pi Day (or, I suppose, Thanksgiving and other more traditional pie-eating holidays) while enjoying a healthy dessert. Pumpkins are full of Vitamin A, potassium, fiber, beta carotene (you can tell as it shares the same lovely orange color as carrots), and so much more. Greatist even refers to pumpkin as a superfood! So eat up and enjoy while reciting pi as far as you can… I’ll start: 3.1415926…

Happy π day 2012!

Had a Hankering for Bread Pudding…

Desserts and Sweets, Recipes

I had this unusual craving for bread pudding, so I decided I would make my own bread pudding. After a quick browse courtesy of our friend Google, I made a beeline for the kitchen to assemble the ingredients, all of which I had in my fridge and pantry (I know that’s not an incredible feat itself for most people, but that’s actually a big deal to me). As I sit here eagerly awaiting my microwave timer to go off and silently praying to the dessert gods that my bread pudding will not curdle, I felt compelled to put together this entry. Rest assured, I will certainly revise this post and make the appropriate tweaks so that yours will come out great, but I’m feeling pretty darn confident so far. Moment of truth…

*Drumroll* The Finished Product!

Tada! Not very difficult at all, and having one (or two) of these is perfect for that warm fuzzy feeling on a cold night. Okay fine, it’s actually 80-something degrees outside, but it’s cold because of the air conditioning. Close enough.

Ingredients:

For 6 cupcake-sized servings:

2 eggs (mine were extra large)

5 slices of bread, any kind (I used whole wheat)

2 teaspoons butter, melted

1 cup milk (I used whole milk)

1/4 cup sugar (turbinado aka Sugar in the Raw gives a nice “warm” flavor to the final product)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (plus a few extra dashes if desired.. I like adding extra)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (plus an extra splash if desired.. I like extra of this too)

A little brown sugar to sprinkle on top

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grab a large bowl, toss in the butter, and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to melt. In the meantime, cut the bread slices into cubes (I’m a bit OCD, but you can feel free to tear or cut the bread into any sized chunks you want). This is a great opportunity to use up the end pieces that no one uses for sandwiches.

Leftover wheat bread, including “reject” end-pieces

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs. Then add the milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and stir well to combine. I used turbinado (raw) sugar so I had to beat/stir my egg mixture a little longer to ensure the large sugar crystals had dissolved.

Cinnamon-y, eggy goodness.

Toss the bread cubes in the melted butter, coating them as evenly as you can. This will help the exposed bits crisp up later. Then pour in the egg mixture and stir to combine. I like to let it sit for just a minute or two so that the bread soaks up the egg mixture but does not quite turn into a soggy mush.

Note how they are moist but not quite soggy

Spoon the eggy bread into your baking tin. I made mini bread puddings using a 6-cup muffin tin, but you can also use a baking dish so long as you adjust the cooking time. Just before they go in the oven, sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on top. It will add a nice crunchy texture.

Into the oven they go for about 35-40 minutes. I like to let it go for 35 minutes, turn off the heat, and then allow it to bake in the residual heat for another 5-10 minutes. Check on them periodically and they’re ready when you touch the bread and it bounces back.

Bet you can’t eat just one! (I couldn’t.)

They’re best served warm and fresh out of the oven. We enjoyed these plain (although I’m reluctant to use the word “plain” as the cinnamon and vanilla worked wonders to transform that boring old wheat bread!) but you can serve them with a rum sauce, berry compote, ice cream, whipped cream, whatever your heart desires!

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Credit goes to this allrecipes.com version (and subsequent reader comments) for helping me figure out basic proportions, ingredients, and oven temperature. If you try our recipe at home, let us know how it turned out for you and if you made any changes that worked out for the better!