Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Book Club, Bible, and Bread Pudding

Our book club met last night (out on the back porch because it was a lovely night and I had filled the house with propane gas--long story) to discuss THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE. Our ratings ranged from 2 1/2 stars to 4 1/2 stars (out of five). What we loved--the concept. Brilliant. What we didn't love? The characters seemed . . . aloof. As a writer, I know one way to make readers sympathize with your character is to give them a vulnerability, and Clare seemed totally self-reliant while Henry had learned to fend for himself by the time we met him. But overall, very good ratings.

My favorite bit: "Her father's dead." "But he's not continuously dead!" LOL. My least favorite bit: Gomez.

On to other topics: Bible challenge today brought us up to the story of Joseph, one of my faves. But I mean to go back and check out Jacob and those spotted sheep. I have never understood what the shaved tree branches had to do with sheep genetics, but I'm going to look it up. If I find anything interesting, I'll report back.

Best part of book club: We have an angel named Barb, a retired art teacher, who COOKS (something I gave up long ago). Better yet, she shares her recipes. Here's the original creation she brought to us last night:

Barb's Cinnamon Bun Pudding w/ Strawberries & Bananas
Cinnamon Rum Sauce
9x13 Pan Oven 350 degrees
Cinnamon Buns(6 or 7 lg. Panera Bread Cinnamon Buns or enough to snugly cover bottom of 9x13 pan)
10 tablespoons butter (1 1/4 stick)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons corn syrup
16 0z. bag Frozen Strawberries
2 bananas, very ripe
7 eggs plus 3 yolks
2 1/2 - 3 cups whipping cream/or half and half
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan melt butter with sugars and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring until smooth. Pour into 9x13 in baking dish to cover bottom.

Arrange buns in one layer on top of butter/sugar. Cut them into sections and squeeze them slightly to fit, if necessary.

Press them into the butter/sugar then flip them over so they are coated with the butter/sugar mixture.

In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, combine strawberries, sprinkled with several tablespoons of sugar, add a splash of Rum, and stir until sugar is dissolved and strawberries are soft enough to cut in half with a knife. Remove from heat, halve the berries, stir in 2 sliced bananas to coat with liquid in sauce pan. Distribute fruit on top of buns, pushing them down into the spaces between bun sections.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half&half, vanilla and salt until combined well, then pour over bread. Cover/refrigerate.

Chill bread mixture 8 hours and up to one day.

1 hour before baking remove from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350. Bake, uncovered in middle of oven until puffed and edges are golden, 40 - 60 minutes.

Serve as is, or with Whiskey Butter Sauce, Toasted Pecans, Cinnamon Rum Sauce, or ice cream.

Buttered Rum Sauce

1 stick butter
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 cup dark rum
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
optional: 1/2 cup cream, toasted pecans

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add dark brown sugar, ground cinnamon, corn syrup, and salt and whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbling and smooth, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in dark rum and vanilla extract. Serve warm.

(Cinnamon-Rum Sauce can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Warm in microwave or over low heat, whisking occasionally, before serving.)
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
For Book Club I increased the sauce by half.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We read "The Time Traveler's Wife" in our book group too. I liked it and thought it would be a good book for young (teen) readers, except for a couple of parts that I felt were totally unnecessary. I'd like to have edited that book!

We grade our books 1-10. I think I gave it about a 7. We meet again this Friday to discuss "The Piano Tuner" which, so far, I'm enjoying.