By SIMON WEBSTER
The good times were definitely rolling down Palestine Main Street last Saturday and the food sure was too. It was a great weekend with parades, floats, parties, Cajun recipes, zydeco music and plenty of Palestine area wine.
The sun was out so people from all over East Texas, young and old, came out to enjoy the Mardi Gras party atmosphere.
I was outside Granny Muffin Wine cooking with Christine Gardner from the Tyler Morning Telegraph. I made Bourbon Street Bread Pudding, which is a new spin on my traditional English bread and butter pudding.
Knowing how many restaurants in New Orleans serve bread pudding, I knew I had to create a version especially for this day.
I have always enjoyed making desserts and sometimes will plan a dinner party menu so it fits the type of dessert I would like to serve. Any host or hostess should remember that dessert, whether it’s big or small, should be memorable because it’s the last bite of the meal.
So keep dessert in mind — don’t let the meal’s last bite be the last thought of your meal plan. And when it comes to Mardi Gras make sure it’s decadent. We have several weeks of Lent ahead so indulge why you can.
Bourbon Street Bread Pudding
12 slices of white bread, buttered on one side
8 croissants, halved
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, divided
3 cups milk
1 cup sugar, divided
3 bananas, sliced
2 teaspoons almond essence
4 tablespoons bourbon, divided
1 cup cream cheese
1/4 – 1/2 cup orange juice
Assorted sprinkles: purple, gold, green
Place six slices bread in a 9x13 pan side by side but buttered side down. Top with half of the chocolate chips and the banana slices. Place other six slices on top, butter side down. In a large bowl beat eggs. Heat milk and 1/2 cup of sugar in pan until warm, but not boiling. Add the almond essence and 2 tablespoons of the bourbon to the milk. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the beaten eggs. Combine well and pour over bread. Place the bottom halves of the croissants on top of the bread. Add the remaining chocolate chips and top with the tops of the croissants. Let stand for ten minutes. Place in a 350 degree oven and cook for 30 minutes or until set. Let cool slightly. In a bowl combine the cream cheese with remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons of bourbon and enough orange juice to thin the cream cheese to a whipped cream consistency.
Use as a topping after baking. Garnish with sprinkles.
Recipe by Chef Simon Webster, Sabor a Pasion Estate & Vineyard, www.saborapasion.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 903-729-9500
All of the Taste of New Orleans recipes can be found at http://www.tylerpaper.com/TP-Food/195347/mardi-gras.