We aren’t one of those Nutella worshippers who make sure that a jar of the stuff is around the house at all times in case of a chocolate or dessert craving emergency, yet this is what Mark brought home from the grocery store Thanksgiving eve to make bread pudding with. Can’t even remember the last time we bought a jar of Nutella – must have been before the girls’ time which make it at least 7 years ago if not more. But yes, it was good and there was barely any leftover dessert. The pumpkin pie – one of the 90 that Mark baked Wednesday for the restaurant – didn’t fare too well with its journey from Central Park to Brooklyn to Long Island, but that is all gone too. My dad picked the last of the persimmons that were still hanging on like little miniature pumpkins off the leafless tree and we ate that too.
Mia likes having a lot of family around for the holidays. The immediate family isn’t enough. Good thing my grandmother, a few of my aunts, uncles and cousins came by for dinner. These are some of the same cousins who I grew up getting together with for big family holidays, but unlike me, the girls only have 1 baby cousin (so far) who lives far away in California. After they had left, Claudine and Mia treated my parents, Mark and I to a half hour dance recital which involved them taking turns and dancing different styles including disco and the robot.
On black Friday we went bowling (ok, we went to Ikea in the morning too. PS, I am having an after Thanksgiving sale on posters and calendars in my etsy shop). My dad had read my bowling blog entry and had a hankering to go. It had been about 15 years since he had bowled. He reminded me that the bowling pin I remember being in the house was high up on the shelf in the family room. Right before we left, he spent 15 minutes digging around in the garage for his old bowling ball, but it wasn’t found. Didn’t matter. He bowled a spare the first 4 times he was up. He didn’t bowl his 175 average, but it wasn’t too bad for being out of practice for 15 years. Mia was still really into the whole bowling thing, giving out high fives every time someone took a turn, but Claudine was just content eating 2 plates of fries this time, just like I did at that age. But the air hockey! Oh, she found something at the bowling alley that she really liked, so much so that she hogged that table up and didn’t even let me play. The girls even had a crowd of 7-9 year old boys cheering them on, which I thought was sweet.
Oh, but the bread pudding…you didn’t think we weren’t going to give a recipe to you, did you?
Nutella Bread Pudding with Dates (serves about 8, less if you’re a bread pudding hog like me)
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup dried dates
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
5 cups of challah or brioche, crusts removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup nutella
Bring the water and cinnamon sticks to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the dates and simmer for one minute, then remove from the heat. Set aside and let the dates cool in the liquid.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl mix the cream, eggs and sugar together. Add the bread and gently stir until well moistened. Set it aside to soak for a few minutes. Now, remove the dates from the liquid. Peel the skins off the dates and remove the pits. Cut each in half, then mix into the bread mixture. Layer one third of the bread into a buttered 8-cup casserole dish. Spoon one half of the nutella over the bread. Layer another third of the bread over that, followed by the remaining nutella, and finally the remaining bread. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes to one hour, depending on the shape of your baking dish. Serve while still warm with fresh whipped cream.