Maria considers her bread pudding — which she makes to use up stale bread — "somewhat of a Portuguese dish given that it's been born out of the judicious use of food." The recipe also calls for dried figs, a plentiful fruit in Portugal. "The maple syrup," says Maria, "gives it that extra bit of sweetness and decadence," and honours Canada, the country where she's lived most of her life.
- Portion size 6 servings
- 16 slices bread
- 1/2 cup chopped dried fig
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 cup raw sugar such as Demerara
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 apples such as Empire or Jonagold
- 1/4 cup port wine
Maple Walnut sauce:
- 1 cup walnut
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup raw sugar
- 1 cup whipping cream
Trim crusts off bread; cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Arrange in greased 12-inch (2.5 L) oval glass baking dish; sprinkle with figs.
In large bowl, whisk together milk, sugar, cream, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt ; pour over bread mixture and let stand for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, core and slice apples; arrangely evenly over bread mixture. Drizzle with port.
Bake in centre of 375°F (190°C) oven until puffed, golden and knife inserted in centre comes out clean, 45 to 60 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Maple Walnut Sauce: Meanwhile, in small saucepan, heat walnuts, maple syrup and sugar over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add cream; cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened enough to coat back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Serve with pudding.