Dates are found abundantly and cheaply around this Ramadhan time of the year here. Have you ever wondered why dates are so significant in a fasting month? Beside its spiritual significance, dates have a very high natural sugar content. The sugar would quickly be converted into energy, giving those who fasts an instant boost of needed energy. This energy would help jumpstart the digestive system before a heavier meal. Besides this, dates are high in vitamins A and B6, folic acid, potassium, sodium, iron, magnesium and fibre. This serves well to replenish the exhausted nutrients in the body.
With all these dates lying around, it is only apt for me to make fullest use of this wonderful nutritious fruit. I have came out with an easy bread pudding recipe with dates. Bread pudding is one of the easiest dessert to whip up. Whether you want to have a quick sugar fix after your meals or even at the start of the day as breakfast, bread pudding fits the bill. This is also one dish that does not take up much effort in the event you feel fatigued.
Whenever I have some stale bread, I would keep it in the freezer for later use. Although it does not cost much, I would never throw it away. This is because I have so much use for these bread. Sometimes, I would dry it and make crumbs for frying. Sometimes, I would slather it with garlic butter (recipe here) and toast it until it is toasty and crispy. Yum! But today, I have saved enough for my easy bread pudding with dates. In total, it just cost me some butter, milk and sugar to make this dish. Talk about being frugal! For this dish, I am using my trusted bread pudding recipe (click for recipe) but added dates instead of raisins. It adds to the sweetness and texture of the dessert. You could pair it with salted caramel sauce to add another dimension to that sweetness or you could add some white chocolate sauce, like I did, for additional flavour. Whichever way you like it, I believe this dish would satisfy your sugar cravings.
Easy Bread Pudding with Dates 海枣面包布丁
8-10 slices day-old bread (depending on thickness of bread)
480 ml (2 cups) milk
60 g (1/4 cup) butter/margarine, melted
2 eggs (grade A), slightly beaten
60 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
10 - 12 pieces dates (Phoenix dactylifera), seeds removed and cut into small pieces
dates for garnishing
1. Cut bread into cubes or smaller pieces. Put into a round heatproof greased bowl. Layer the bottom of the bowl with some cut dates. Add another layer of bread. Sprinkle the rest of the dates in. Cover with the rest of the bread. Drizzle evenly with butter/margarine.
2. Prepare egg mixture. Mix milk, eggs, sugar salt, cinnamon in a bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture onto bread. Let sit for 10 mins until bread is completely soaked. The bread should be soggy without too much excess liquid.
3. Meanwhile, heat oven to 160C. Put bowl into oven and bake for 40-45 mins. To test if pudding is done, poke middle with a toothpick/tester. If there is no residue, remove from oven.
4. Cool pudding before loosening the sides and turning pudding upside down onto serving plate. Garnish with dates. Serve with your preferred sauce.