Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pucker Up!

Remember the sweet, smoky, cheesy, spicy Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwiches I made? I must have changed my mind about a million times before deciding on that recipe. Then I ran into some trouble making it.

First, the supermarket kept running out of chicken breast fillets. Finally, after my third visit, I was able to buy some. Then I learned not to buy a huge loaf of freshly baked Italian bread when all you have is a small blunt bread knife that takes an eternity just to make even one slice. I practically massacred and mutilated that bread that I had to buy ANOTHER loaf of bread that's already been sliced. Problem solved.

On contrary, this popular Stuffed Cheesy Bread on Crack was a breeze to make. It was just meant to be. 

I guess some days you're up and some days you're down.

Not wanting to waste all that poor Italian bread that didn't make the sandwich, I decided to turn it into something that some of you may be familiar with in a cupcake. 


NO. This isn't a post about ANOTHER lemon poppyseed cupcake with cream cheese frosting. 

I am doing this my way. 


So to all the big lemon fans out there, get ready to pucker up!

If you're a big lemon lover, then you will definitely LOVE this!


The bread pudding itself has a subtle lemon flavor, crisp at the top, moist inside but not soggy, with pockets of velvety cream cheese and studded with poppyseeds. The lemon curd sauce delivers the bold tartness right on the spot. The delicious smell of lemons while this bakes in the oven fills your kitchen as you keep looking impatiently at the bread pudding inside the oven, waiting for it to be done. 

Just look at those dollops of smooth, velvety cream cheese and those lovely specks of black poppyseeds. How can you seriously say NO to that? 

The cream cheese stays soft and practically melts in your mouth when you eat it.

Here's the first taste test. Let's take a slice of all this lemony goodness, shall we? 

Hello, gorgeous.

Wait! Aren't you forgetting something? 
Don't you know it's a SIN to eat this WITHOUT the lemon sauce? 

Drizzle some of that warm, luscious, thick lemon curd sauce. Yes, yes, yes, please!

Perfect! Now I'm all ready to eat.

lemon curd sauce recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
lemon poppyseed bread pudding recipe, original from Food Wanderings In Asia

5 1/3 cups bread, day old and cut into cubes
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp poppyseeds

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon

Lemon Sauce
3 egg yolks
6 tbsp sugar
juice of 2 small lemons
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
1/2 of a stick of butter, cut into cubes

Prepare the lemon sauce. 
Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Mix well.
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice together in a pan over low heat. Stir constantly for about 4 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and continue stirring for 3 minutes or more until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and add the butter, one cube at a time. Stir until smooth. Transfer to a container. Press a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Heat in the microwave quickly before serving with the bread pudding.

To make the bread pudding:
Heat the milk with the sugar in a pan on low heat (or in a microwave) and stir until completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a bowl and mix in the heavy cream. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks gradually until well combined. Add the vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix well. Stir in the poppyseeds. Set aside. 

In another bowl, beat the cream cheese together with the sugar and lemon juice. Set aside.

Butter an 8x8 inch square baking dish. Arrange half the amount of bread cubes in a single, even layer. Drop dollops of the cream cheese on top of the bread cubes. Pour about 3/4 cup of the custard over the bread cubes. Top with the remaining half of bread cubes. Drop dollops of the remaining cream cheese over the bread. Carefully pour the rest of the custard mixture evenly over the whole thing. Set aside for 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge, covered and let come to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes until the pudding is set. Best served warm drizzled with the lemon sauce.
I'm walking on sunshine. Wooh! And don't it feel good?!