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Italian Winemakers

Italian Winemaker's Dinner at the Italian Culinary Institute
Date: Wednesday July 16, 2003
Chef: John DeLucie, Executive Chef SoHo & Tribeca Grand Hotels

Italian-Style Bread Pudding

7 ounces country or ciabatta bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces sugar, divided
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup crushed almonds
8 egg yolks
9 egg whites
1 ounce cornstarch
1 1/2 pounds total of blueberries and amarena cherries in syrup, combined
1 cup unflavored bread crumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Soak the bread in the milk for about 3 hours in the refrigerator. Place in a food processor and purée until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
2. Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat the butter until creamy. Add 4 ounces of the sugar, lemon zest, a pinch of cinnamon, almonds and salt, and continue to whisk until well incorporated. Add the egg yolks, one at a time until a creamy consistency is formed. Add the bread puree, and continue to mix on a low speed until incorporated.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining 2 ounces of sugar until soft peaks form, being careful not to over beat. Add the cornstarch, a little at a time until well incorporated. Fold the beaten egg whites to the bread mixture, a little at a time, gently folding with a rubber spatula. Add the blueberry-cherry mixture, and continue to mix until incorporated.

4. Butter muffin pans and sprinkle with bread crumbs, shaking off any excess. Ladle the mixture into the tins and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (Avoid opening the oven during this time). Remove, and let cool. Serve with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Serves 12