I love the moment right after a comforting meal when the last dish has been dried, dessert is in the oven and I’m relaxing on the couch with my guy.  I sigh as the smell of warm honey slowly fills my home. All is right with the world.

And that’s when the kitchen gods decide to smite.


I forgot to put the bread pudding in its hot water bath.

Before you know it I’m leaping off the couch and over the cat, making a mad dash to the kitchen where I nearly forget to put on oven mitts as I wrench the baking pan of citrus pignole bliss out of the oven. Luckily it had only been in there for 12 minutes.

During the next .47 seconds I perform a world-record water bath rescue, which should never be repeated at that speed! How I avoid branding myself with an oven rack I’ll never know.

The kitchen gods must have been satisfied with my rather embarrassing ordeal because the bread pudding was spared its near demise.

Moments like these remind me what an “adventure” this thing called cooking can be. It’s not all warm, gooey chocolate chips in here my friends.  Sometimes you have to suck it up, throw your failure away and start fresh…but not always. 

Pete Wells has a great article out in the NYT concerning culinary faux-pas and he makes a good point: one man’s mistake can be another’s genius. So don’t throw in the dish towel too quick; give your extra crisp brownies a try. Not everyone will be able to tell if they’re scorched and you might even stumble across a stupendous new recipe. Brownies brûlée perhaps.

And in the event your dish truly is garbage disposal worthy, tie those apron strings a little tighter and duke it out again. Just don’t give up – that’s my only rule.


Airy Rosemary Citrus Pignole Bread Pudding
Adapted from gabrielaskitchen at Food52

This dish is a delicious, unique take on bread pudding. I reduced the amount of honey by 1/4 cup (it was a little sweet) so feel free to use up to 3/4 cup if you wish.  I also second the chef on her recommendation to serve with fresh whipped cream. That stuff from the can just won’t cut it with this dish. A tip for whipping your cream: if you don’t have a splatter guard, try placing your bowl into the sink as you whip. Definitely cuts down on the mess factor.

You will need:
1 large loaf Italian or French bread, about 3 cups cubed
1/2 cup honey
2 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp. dry rosemary pulverized
1 teaspoon zest of lemon
1 teaspoon zest of grapefruit
1 teaspoon zest of one orange
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 vanilla bean scraped
1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
juice of one small lemon
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts


Preheat the oven to 300°. Cut or tear a loaf of bread into approximately 1 inch cubes. Spread the bread, in one layer, on baking sheets. Toast for about 10 minutes, until bread is slightly crisp on the outside but still spongy on the inside.

Place milk, rosemary, citrus zest and vanilla in a sauce pan on medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, then promptly remove from heat and cover. Let rest for 15 minutes. If you used fresh rosemary remove and discard the sprigs and leaves. Add honey to the milk mixture stirring until completely incorporated.

In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, lemon juice and melted butter.

Prepare a 8 x 8 x 1 1/2 in. square pan. Lightly grease the bottom and sides with unsalted butter. Place bread into the pan.

In a separate bowl, separate egg yolks and white, reserving both for use. Beat the egg yolks until lemon colored. Add to the milk mixture, blending well.

In yet another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into the first milk and egg mixture.

Pour the final pudding-like mixture over the bread, making sure that it is evenly coated. Top with toasted pinenuts.

Place the baking pan into a larger pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the outer pan to come halfway up the sides of the pan containing the bread pudding. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Serve with fresh whipped cream (1 small carton heavy cream plus 2 Tbs. sugar whipped).

Yield ~ 8 servings