Sunday we ended our lesson on Costa Rica with a culinary experiment. In studying this country, and searching for recipes/meal ideas, we discovered that Costa Rican's consume a lot of beans. They have beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They even have beans for snacks! While we have been working towards integrating beans in our diet on a more regular basis (for nutritional, as well as economic reasons) we still haven't achieved the level of enjoyment that we are striving for from the children. We do want our edible portion of geography lessons to accurately portray the regions we are studying, but we also want it to be an enjoyable experience for the kids, we opted to just go with dessert this time around.
In searching for the perfect dessert recipe, I found a lot of recipes that required the use of an oven. Being without a conventional oven at this time, I was a bit limited in my selections. Finally, I settled upon a recipe for a bread pudding which utilized ingredients one might expect to find in abundance in Costa Rica. Looking over the recipe I decided I could easily make some revisions, creating my own version. The end result was a wonderful taste sensation, which I felt was worthy of "jotting down", and sharing with you.
Costa Rica inspired Bread Pudding
10 slices white bread (old sandwich style, if using larger style slices you may want to reduce to 9 slices)
1/2 cup strained,crushed pineapple (reserve juice for sauce)
1/3 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
1/3 cup flaked, sweetened coconut
5 TBSP butter or Margarine
1 cup lite coconut milk
1/2 cup milk
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup pineapple juice (reserved from pineapple)
2 Tbsp. dark rum
Remove crusts from bread, and cut into small cubes, placing in a large bowl. Add pineapple, coconut, and macadamia nuts. Pour melted butter over all and stir to combine. In medium size bowl, combine milks, beaten egg, granulated sugar, and spices. Mix well, then stir into bread mixture. Lightly grease an 8" or 9" square pan (I used 9"), or spray with Pam. Pour mixture into pan and allow to set for an hour or so.
Bake pudding in preheated 350º oven for about an hour, or until pick comes out clean. Allow to cool a bit in pan while preparing sauce (or 10-15 minutes if you opt to skip the sauce)
Melt 1 TBSP butter or margarine in small pan over medium heat. Mix cornstarch well with brown sugar. Add to melted butter along with pineapple juice. Cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in rum.
Serve warm sauce over warm pudding.
Alternately, serve pudding with vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream. You may also want to try serving the pudding with ice cream and drizzled with the rum sauce. Or..you could do like the kids did! Simply top it with more crushed pineapple! :-)
Yields about 6 servings
Let me know if you try it!