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Simple Cooking: Panzanella Bread Pudding

By Anthony Todd in Food on Sep 16, 2013 4:00PM

A slice of the finished pudding.

As soon as we saw the Kickstarter video for Short Stack Editions, we were in love. Small, hand-bound cookbooks centered around a single ingredient, Short Stack Editions focus on cooking rather than glossy photos or celebrity pitchmen. We got our first set of three a few weeks ago and have been paging through them ever since.

Our favorite of the first set is Ian Knauer's "Eggs". Egg dishes are some of the most useful recipes a cook can have at hand and Knauer's run the gamut from breakfast to dessert. Our current favorite is a panzanella bread pudding, a takeoff on the classic Italian bread and tomato salad with some added protein and a ton of flavor. It's the perfect recipe to use up some of the late summer over-bounty of tomatoes without too much fuss.

Short Stack's business model puts the author first, meaning that the author gets paid directly for every single copy that is sold. They've managed to gather up some very impressive talent. Knauer, for instance, is a former editor at Gourmet magazine and the creator of the PBS show The Farm.

The cover of Short Stacks Volume 1.

If you missed the initial Kickstarter, not to fear. Each booklet is available for $12 on Short Stack's website or you can buy the whole set of three (including "Strawberries" and "Tomatoes") for $35. The next set, coming soon, includes Buttermilk, Grits and Sweet Potatoes. Not convinced? Try this recipe (which we slightly modified based on what was abundant in our pantry) and then decide for yourself.

Panzanella Bread Pudding
Adapted from Ian Knauer's "Eggs"

Six cups tomatoes, either cherry or quartered large.
Eight cloves of garlic, smashed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
One Tablespoon tomato paste
Four eggs
One cup half-and-half
Eight cups day-old bread in 1-inch cubes
Three jalapeno peppers, seeded and thickly sliced
One sliced shallot
Salt and pepper

Put the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, jalapenos, shallot and salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to coat everything with oil. Move the whole mess to a roasting pan and broil for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are beginning to blacken.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Move the tomato mix from the roasting pan to a bowl and whisk in the tomato paste. In another bowl, beat eggs, half and half and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together. Add the egg mix to the bowl with the tomatoes.

Add the cubed bread to the bowl of tomato-egg mix and press down until all the bread is thoroughly soaked. Transfer the whole thing to a baking dish or casserole. Bake until the bread pudding is set—it took about 40 minutes for ours. Slice and serve, and keep the extras for lunch the next day.