Holiday

Pineapple Bread Pudding

This post was originally published on 4/10/2014. It was updated with new photos and content on 4/19/2019.

Pineapple Bread Pudding  |  Lemon & Mocha

At Thanksgiving a while back there was a baked spiral ham that was served alongside Pineapple Bread Pudding. At first I was nervous as I’ve always had bread pudding exclusively as a dessert. Two servings later I was completely hooked. Fast forward to five years later and this is hands-down still my absolute favorite dish to eat with baked ham.

Pineapple Bread Pudding  |  Lemon & Mocha

Bread pudding as a side dish? Sure it sounds strange, but after one bite you will be saying, “I can’t believe I ever ate baked ham without this!” Except it will sound like, “Om nom nom nom,” because when something is this delicious you don’t have time for things like manners and not talking with your mouth full. But try to keep it classy, you don’t want grandma giving you the stink eye at the dinner table.

Pineapple Bread Pudding  |  Lemon & Mocha

As a lover of sweetness, carbs and all things delicious this Pineapple Bread Pudding is right up my alley. I chose to use challah bread because there is a richness and subtle sweetness about challah bread that is a result of its higher egg and butter content, which stands up perfectly with the pineapple. My favorite part about making this recipe is that there’s only five ingredients. Five! It can’t get more simple or easy to make than that.

Pineapple Bread Pudding  |  Lemon & Mocha

I am at a loss as to how else to describe this amazing dish because just thinking about this pineapple bread pudding is making my head cloudy with desire. So let’s just get right to it.

Pineapple Bread Pudding  |  Lemon & Mocha

I could eat this Pineapple Bread Pudding every night of the week. I can’t think of anything I would rather eat with baked ham. I think it also might be good as dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Go make this now.

Pineapple Bread Pudding  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pineapple Bread Pudding
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ loaf challah bread, about 5 thick slices
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
Directions
  1. Cube the challah bread into 1” pieces. You should have enough pieces to fill a 9” x 9” baking dish. Place the bread in a large bowl and let sit uncovered for at least an hour. You want the bread to get a little stale so that it stays firm when you add the liquid.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly spray a 2 quart baking dish and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and then combine with the can of crushed pineapple, melted butter and sugar. Once combined carefully mix in the bread cubes until coated. Spoon the entire contents of the bowl into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown.

Recipe slightly adapted from All Recipes.

Lemon Curd Tart with Fresh Berries

I have made a terrible mistake. Truly awful, really. You probably already noticed and have been secretly scolding me, but I will confess anyway. I have been posting on Lemon & Mocha for six months and have yet to post a full-blown fresh lemon recipe. Whew, ok, now that the elephant in the blogosphere has been addressed I already feel a lot better. I know I was moments away from protest forums and lemon-lover blog trollers taking over so this recipe was posted just in time.

And I know once you taste this lemon curd tart with fresh berries you will forgive me because your mind will be so overloaded with delicious and joyful thoughts that you will forget I kept this recipe from you for so long. Lemon, like many other ingredients and flavors, took a while for me to cozy up to, but once I did, I fell madly in love. A romantic my-eyes-light-up-at-the-mention-of-its-name love, not an obsessive have-its-name-tattooed-on-my-chest-and-we-aren’t-even-exclusive love, just to clarify.

This tart is not only stunning, but incredibly easy, amazingly fresh and positively simple! If you’ve never had lemon curd, don’t let the name scare you away. It has the texture of pudding and will make you want to eat it with a spoon in the pantry closet so you don’t have to share. The lemon curd is sweet, but the tartness of the lemon flavor definitely pushes through to the forefront of your tastebuds. Paired with the flaky puff pastry, the sweetness of the berries and the light dusting of powdered sugar, this treat is the perfect fresh ending to a big holiday meal.

Lemon Curd Tart with Fresh Berries
 
Yield: 12 servings
Ingredients
for the lemon curd
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
for the tart
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted according to package instructions
  • ¾ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
Directions
for the lemon curd
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in the pieces of butter. Whisk the curd frequently until the curd is thick enough that it keeps the mark of the whisk when you touch it to the curd in the saucepan.
  2. Transfer the lemon curd to a small bowl to cool. If there are small lumps of egg you can push the curd through a fine mesh sieve, but I typically skip this step. Cover the surface of the lemon curd with a piece of plastic wrap so that it’s completely touching the curd. Place in the fridge to cool.
for the tart
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Unfold the sheet of puff pastry and lay on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  3. Let the baked puff pastry cool. Once the puff pastry is cool top generously with the lemon curd. Place the berries on top of the lemon curd then lightly dust with powdered sugar. To serve, cut into squares.

Lemon Curd from Sketches and Scribbles.

Sun-dried Tomato and Smoked Paprika Deviled Eggs with Crispy Shallots

Deviled eggs have long been one of my favorite snacks for a gathering. They are perfect for every occasion: Christmas, Fourth of July, birthdays… who doesn’t like birthday eggs? However they seem to be most closely associated with Easter because of all the extra hard boiled eggs people tend to have after dyeing them, so I thought it was only fitting to post a deviled egg recipe in time for the holiday. These aren’t any old plain Jane deviled eggs. No, sir, these are jazzed up and pack a punch. Who knew deviled eggs could smack your tastebuds so hard? These are sun-dried tomato and smoked paprika deviled eggs with crispy shallots.

I knew I wanted to post a variation of deviled eggs for Easter, but I didn’t know which way to lean. Smoked salmon or bacon? Avocado or goat cheese? The possibilities went on and you all know how I feel about possibilities. Hint: I love them! The answer came to me in the form of a little plastic baggie. No it’s not what you think… I was high on excitement over the little sample of smoked paprika my friend brought me one morning. I had never cooked with smoked paprika before, but I could smell it from four feet away and was tingling with anticipation.

If you haven’t experienced smoked paprika before, it’s like regular paprika on steroids with an injection of smoke flavor. I tried thinking about what additional flavors would pair well and came across one of my favorite ingredient combinations in my pantry: sun-dried tomatoes and shallots. I had made a delicious sun-dried tomato mayonnaise a few months ago, which I will hopefully be sharing on Lemon & Mocha soon, and thought the technique would work perfectly for the deviled eggs.

Well it did and they were so tasty that I didn’t even share any. Except with Matt, he was all over these bad boys. Oh, and I almost forgot the crispy shallots! They are such an easy addition, but make a world of difference with their added texture. Lightly frying them up mellows their flavor and I definitely made extras to nibble on while I was cooking.

So if you’re looking for something full of flavor to liven up your traditional Easter brunch, your plain Jane birthday eggs or your late night rager snack spread, these deviled eggs will have everyone asking for more.

Sun-dried Tomato Deviled Eggs with Crispy Shallots
 
Yield: 12 deviled eggs
Ingredients
  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons julienned sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 6 hardboiled eggs, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus additional for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Slice the shallot into very thin rings.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot place a small handful of the sliced shallots into the sauté pan and let fry. Once the shallots are crispy, but not burned, about 2-3 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. Repeat until all the shallot slices are crispy.
  3. Combine the boiling water and sun-dried tomatoes and let them soak for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, carefully slice the hardboiled eggs lengthwise and place the egg yolks in a food processor. When the sun-dried tomatoes are done soaking drain them and place them in the food processor with the egg yolks. Add the mayonnaise and smoked paprika. Puree the mixture until smooth then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Evenly spoon the mixture into the empty egg whites or fill a pastry bag with the egg mixture and pipe evenly into the empty egg whites. Dust with some additional smoked paprika before serving.

 

Spiked Hazelnut Hot Chocolate

There is so much hot chocolate in my apartment right now. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a hot chocolate hoarder. It’s okay, there are worse things to hoard like styrofoam peanuts and diner jelly packets, although I do have a couple of those packets in the fridge. What do you expect, I was raised by my grandma!

Even with all the hot chocolate options sitting in my cabinet I could not resist making this spiked hazelnut hot chocolate. I have never made homemade hot chocolate without a mix and after this experience it’s going to be hard to go back. The drink is creamy and decadent with a strong hazelnut flavor.

Just like Nutella tastes by itself, the hazelnut doesn’t overpower the chocolate taste. Since there is no powdered cocoa involved this hazelnut hot chocolate stays delightfully smooth.

The addition of the Frangelico, although fun and perfect for bringing out the hazelnut flavor, is of course optional so feel free to omit it for any kiddos or nondrinkers. I know this won’t be the last I see of this hot chocolate over the next couple months. I plan to drink it as a cozy breakfast treat, an after dinner dessert or as a nice warm pick-me-up after inevitably shoveling my car out of snow for the tenth time. How will you enjoy yours?

Spiked Hazelnut Hot Chocolate
 
Yield: 1 hot chocolate
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons Nutella
  • 1 tablespoon Frangelico or another hazelnut liquor
  • Whipped cream
Directions
  1. In a small saucepan on medium heat warm the milk until it begins to bubble at the edges.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the Nutella and Frangelico and whisk until smooth.
  3. Top with whipped cream then serve.

Recipe from Saveur.

Spinach Salad with Fried Goat Cheese, Pears, Toasted Walnuts and a Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette

I often get inspired by dishes I have out at restaurants. Sometimes it is because the dish was so fantastic that I dream about it day and night. I develop an obsessive nonstop craving for it and must recreate it myself to satisfy this craving. Sometimes the dish wasn’t all that great, but in theory it sounded amazing. That is when I know I must recreate it to help the dish live up to its potential. The later was the case with this salad. A spinach salad with fried goat cheese, pears and toasted walnuts. The minute I saw it written on the menu my mouth started watering.

I have an affinity for goat cheese with its creamy texture and tangy taste so the thought of adding a crispy exterior had me over the moon with delight. Then adding pears for sweetness balanced by the toasted walnuts for crunch and an earthiness? Genius workings of a perfect salad in my eyes. But then it came to the table and the first bite was a serious letdown. The dressing was bland and the fried goat cheese was overpowered by breading. I knew the salad was meant to be amazing so a week later I set out to help it reach its full potential.

This spinach salad with fried goat cheese, pears and toasted walnuts with a pomegranate molasses vinaigrette exceeds expectations beyond what my wildest dreams had imagined. The fried goat cheese has a very light yet crunchy exterior which pairs perfectly with the refreshing spinach, pears and toasted walnuts, but what really makes this salad sing is the pomegranate molasses vinaigrette. Sweet and tangy this dressing packs a punch and is anything but bland. You only need a small amount so make sure you don’t overdress the spinach.

Typically, a salad is the last meal choice on my list, but that week I ate this salad every day, oftentimes for lunch and dinner. Now if that testament isn’t enough to get you to make this salad right this minute, then I’m not sure what is.

Spinach Salad with Fried Goat Cheese, Pears, Toasted Walnuts and a Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette
 
Yield: 4 servings, 1 cup dressing
Ingredients
for the fried goat cheese
  • 8 ounces goat cheese or goat cheese with honey
  • 2 egg whites
  • ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
for the dressing
  • ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
for the salad
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
  • 8 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 pears
Directions
for the fried goat cheese
  1. Place a small cooling rack over a baking sheet small enough to fit in your fridge then set aside.
  2. Beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a separate small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Slice the goat cheese into ½” thick slices. The best way to cleanly cut goat cheese is with a small piece of dental floss.
  4. Carefully dip each slice of goat cheese into the egg white mixture then the breadcrumbs before placing on the cooling rack. After all the pieces have been dipped let them chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  5. When the goat cheese rounds have chilled, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  6. Cook 2-3 minutes per side then remove from the heat.
for the dressing
  1. Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, mustard and honey until combined. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
for the salad
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Evenly place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 3-5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Thinly slice the pears.
  3. Toss the spinach with some of the salad dressing. Divide dressed spinach onto 4 plates then top each plate with the ¼ of the toasted walnuts, ½ of the sliced pears and 2 pieces of warm fried goat cheese.

Vinaigrette from Bobby Flay.
Fried goat cheese from Ina Garten.