You don’t need to share an individual serving of sweet nutty bread pudding drizzled with cognac caramel sauce!
Heavy whipping cream is not readily available in Ulaanbaatar. This surprised me. Since the Mongolian culture is heavily tied to herding and to dairy, I assumed that whipping cream would be much easier to get than in remote Point Hope, Alaska, where we had to fly in this precious commodity. The plight of whipping cream difficulties has followed me across the globe. Well, that’s a bit overdramatic. I did come across heavy whipping cream in the one store that carries many western groceries here in UB. But at about $28 a liter, I decided it wasn’t worth it. Plus it was UHT (ultra heat temperature processed) in order to keep it shelf stable. My experience with UHT whipping cream is that it turns to butter with the slightest amount of whipping.
The other day, I noticed a box of a new product in the dairy section of a grocery store we frequently shop. Everything was in Korean, except for the words “whipping cream.” Since the price was reasonable and since I could not find anything that looked like “UHT” written anywhere, I took a chance. Boy, am I glad I did! Not only does this cream whip up beautifully, it is the best tasting whipping cream I have ever had.
As is often the case in Ulaanbaatar, a product is here one day and gone the next. Alas, I can no longer find this whipping cream, so I am using it sparingly. I hope it will show up again.
One of our favorites is bread pudding. Using pantry staples such as homemade French bread, toasted almonds, and good cognac, I baked a small batch of individual bread puddings. It was the perfect amount for us to enjoy and share with guests. And it was a delicious way to use some of the precious heavy whipping cream.
Almond Bread Pudding with Cognac Caramel
- 1/4 cup almonds, chopped and toasted
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 1/2 cups French bread, cubed small
Ingredients for cognac caramel
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 2 tbsp good quality cognac
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Grease 6 cups in a muffin tin. Set aside.
- Whisk together melted butter, milk, cream, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond extract and eggs in a medium bowl.
- Stir in bread cubes. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the bread to soak up egg mixture.
- Divide mixture equally into prepared muffin tin.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Add almonds to the tops of bread puddings and bake for 10 more minutes.
- Let the bread puddings cool in the tin for 10 minutes. While they are cooling, make the cognac caramel.
- Bring brown sugar and cream to a boil in a small pan and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Sauce should thicken.
- Remove from hit and stir in cognac.
- Loosen the bread puddings from tin by cutting around the edges with a knife. Transfer puddings to individual plates.
- Drizzle cognac caramel sauce on each bread pudding and serve warm.