If you've ever wanted to visit New York City, but can't afford the time or the fare, there are a number of sites you can visit to aid your armchair travels. One such site is a bit of a travelogue disguised as a foodblog run by our most lovely Paz of The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz.
Each Monday she posts a photo of her fair city -- a sort of everyman's photojournal of The Big Apple. Yes, there are some shots of touristy targets like The Russian Tea Room, Grant's Tomb and carriage rides; foodie obsessions like pizza, markets and cafés, and of course everyday images of architecture, wildlife and people.
Anyway, Paz isn't feeling the greatest, taking some recuperation time and is taking a bit of a blogging break. Right now a number of her bloggy friends are helping out and guest starring on her site until she's up for more cooking and photography.
I can't remember exactly when we discovered each others blogs, but our sites are roughly the same age (about a month apart) and she was one of my first bloggy friends. We've laughed and snarked at one another over this and that and she electronically knocked me on my plumptious behind when she gave me a flying tackle of a return hug.
As much as I'd like to be in NYC to cheer her up in person, I can't get away--besides, I'm sure all the laughing we'd do wouldn't be good for the sutures ;)
So instead I offer here a comforting little seasonal pudding for a comfy recovery. A cherry dulce de leche croissant pudding based on Nigella's Caramel Croissant Pudding, as seen in Nigella Express.
I'd gone to the good farmer's market and picked up a punnet of the sweetest and juiciest cherries. Even though I like fresh cherries, there's something about having them in a simple baked dish--pies, studded in breads or unfussed cakes. When set in the smokey custard, some juices release, leaving a burgundy streak, but some--those that are sunk in the pudding and cocooned in sweetened eggy goodness--still burst when bitten. It's quite nice.
My version was thrown together in much the same way most of my bread puddings are put together. I had about half a dozen mini croissants in my fridge, along with a stress-releasing, sadness-fighting, comfort-inducing jar of dulce de leche.
I'm pretty much a purist when it comes to the custard part of my bread puddings--vanilla, please. I don't normally go for flavourings, but right now caramelly goo and fruit are my choco-substitutes, so Nigella's version that incorporates caramel made me sit up...Oh and I suppose I could have made this into a greedily portioned single serving, but I decided to break it up into four ramekins.
Cherry Dulce de Leche Croissant Pudding
adapted from Nigella Lawson's Caramel Croissant Pudding found in Nigella Express
6 mini butter croissants
2 bulging tablespoons of dulce de leche
125ml milk (don't bother with 1% or skim milk)
50ml heavy cream
2 well-beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
pitted sweet cherries.
water from a freshly boiled kettle.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Tear the croissants and scatter the pieces into a butter a baking dish (or dishes). Scatter some of the cherries over top.
Heat the dulce de leche in a small pan. When it's loose and drippy, add the milk, cream and vanilla.
Temper the eggs with some of the heated sweetened milk, stiring the eggs constantly so they don't scramble. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and heat on a low flame, stirring constantly. Let it thicken until it coats the back of the spoon.
Pour over top the cherries and broken croissants, top with more cherries. Put the dish(es) in a roasting tin and fill the tin with hot water until it comes to the half-way point of the baking dish(es). Pop into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the custard has just set.