Olga Massov is The Sassy Radish, a food writer and a home cook. Her first cookbook, The Kimchi Cookbook, will be published November 27, 2012 and is available for pre-order. She is at work on her second cookbook, which will be out in 2013.
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
9 ounces (8 cups) challah cubes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
Pinch of allspice
4 large egg yolks
1 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
2 large egg whites
1 Tbsp granulated sugar, plus additional for dusting the dish
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Heat oven to 375 degrees and position the rack in the middle. In a small saucepan set over low heat, bring the milk and the cream to a simmer. Place challah cubes in a bowl. Remove milk-cream mixture from heat and pour half of the liquid over the challah. Let sit.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment set on high speed, cream the butter and the brown sugar until light and fluffy (start the mixer on low and gradually increase to high speed). Add the egg yolks, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, beating well, on medium high, until emulsified. Add apple sauce and the remaining dairy mixture, and mix until thoroughly combined.
Fold the soaked challah into the apple sauce mixture. Place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and add the sugar and the salt. Starting with the mixer on low and gradually increasing the speed to high, beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
Gently fold the whites into the batter. Butter and sugar a 3-quart soufflé dish or 8 3 1/2-inch ramekins, then place or evenly divide the batter. If baking in a soufflé dish bake the pudding about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a knife, inserted into the pudding, comes out clean.
Check on your bread pudding after 1 hour. If the top of your bread pudding starts to get too brown, cover it with tin foil and continue to cook.) If using the ramekins, bake the pudding for about 25 minutes, or until a knife, inserted into the pudding, comes out clean. Baked puddings can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, then heated in the oven wrapped in foil or microwaved until warm.
This is as simple as it gets, but it’s better than the sum of its parts. In fact, given the amount of rich, heavy food we consume during Passover, this salad is a welcome reprieve at the seder table. It cleanses your palate while wetting your appetite for more traditional dishes to come: matzah ball soup, brisket, gefilte fish, potato kugel, or whatever your family traditionally serves. I’ve served this at many a dinner party (and a few seders) and it gets rave reviews every time. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, regular lemons will do just fine.
Olga Massov blogs at The Sassy Radish. She was born in Russia, moved to Boston when she was 11, went to Pittsburgh for college, and lived in DC for one sweltering summer. She jokes that she’s a Russian expat by way of New England with Southern inclinations, but her love of pickles, lobster, and bourbon (though maybe not necessarily together) proves the point.
Now, she lives in Brooklyn with her fiancé, Andrew, a journalist, and a linebacker-sized tabby cat, Forrest Whittaker. After a decade in finance fiddling with spreadsheets while yearning to be a food writer full time, Olga decided to take the plunge. She is now working on co-authoring her first book, The Kimchi Cookbook, which will offer seasonally-driven kimchi recipes, as well as recipes using kimchi in cooking. The book will be published last week of November 2012 by Ten Speed Press..
1 fennel bulb, shaved paper thin
2 celery ribs, shaved paper thin
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon or regular lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Celery leaves, for garnish
On a large plate or platter, spread out the fennel slices. Layer the celery slices on top. Drizzle the lemon juice and the olive oil, and sprinkle some flaky sea salt and black pepper on top. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, for 1 to 2 hours before serving. The salad gets better the longer it sits. Serve, garnished with celery leaves.