HCB: Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cakes

The first weekend of the months are the hardest for me when it comes to baking.  My commitment to three baking groups makes it a bit hard, since I technically have 3 dessert to bake during the first weekend.  So usually during this time one tends to fall of the to bake list.  Since I had passed last weeks choice on HCB, I could not bring myself to pass on a second week.  One of the other baking club is going to take a hit - the jury still out as to which.

I decided to start with HCB choice, because it was the hardest of the 3.  The pudding portion had 3 pages of instructions, add 4 more if you decided to do the Brioche and you got, once more, 7 pages of instructions ahead of you.  Which mean one thing - hold on to your whisk, its going to be a bumpy bake.  After reading, I realized that after putting into account the waiting time between the steps, I was looking at well over 12+ hours of work for six baby cakes.

God, I thought the Apple Charlotte was hard.

I decided to cut my losses, be totally lazy and buy the Brioche instead.

And this is where I wish in times like this that I did not live in a town, but in a big metropolitan city with fancy bakeries and fresh markets.  Because not even the local Whole Food store had brioche.  You can read that last sentence again, just so you can actually believe it.  The Whole Foods store had NO BRIOCHE!

People, the world is coming to an end.

Back to the recipe dilemma.  I was stuck, had to make the brioche.  But, I read it again, and again, and I just could not bring myself to do it.  Time for a little thing called Internet help call. I set out to find a recipe for brioche that involved less time and steps.  I know, I know.  But, I was still feeling deflated over last weeks bakingpalloza.  But, as always the Internet came through and voila, with new recipe at hand I set out to plan.

The brioche got done on Thursday night and put away.  It was a simple recipe and after taking a test, I was happy with the results. I’m sure that Rose’s would have been way better, but… the lazy me won out.

I was going to take Friday off, but after a conversation with my partner in baking crime Jenn, I decided to glance at the recipe for the pudding and found that I had totally missed the step where it tells you that your brioche needs to be cut up into cubes and set out to dry out for eight hours ahead of time. EIGHT! Let’s all take a moment to say thanks to Jenn.  Because of her, the boys in my house are eating pineapple pudding Sunday night. - She needs a pat on the back for this.

So went to bed, left brioche out to dry.

Saturday rolls around, and guess what? Brioche, not very dry, was still soft to the touch, so I place them in the oven for 1 hour.

And went to the supermarket to get stuff for my other cooking plans of the day.

I took more than an hour.

Came back and my brioche was dry. Ok, more like toasted than dry.  Got worried for a minute, then remember they were going to get a good soaking with the Creme Anglaise, so I let it go. (I will be doing a lot of this in the next couple of hours)

The Creme Anglaise part of the recipe?  Totally easy and no problems.

This gets poured over the dried toasted brioche, place in the refrigerator and then of course we have to wait.  After 4 hours, I stared on the caramel.  And all went well.  Sugar turned to color it was suppose to, butter went in, and I covered my 6 little molds and then moved over to roast the pineapple.

And here I encounter a total blond moment.  I did not cut up my pineapples in thirds, but actually cut them up the way I was suppose to do it AFTER they roasted.

I notice my mistake after I dump it all in the saute pan.

And the baking gods slapped me right back.  Because after the pineapples were in the oven for about 30 minutes and numerous oven door opening action to “baste” my original juices were now a syrup. Not a “sauce” as the book called it but a SYRUP.  Could you hear the cursing?  It was 8pm, and my pineapples were way more than done, but my juices, not.a.syrup.  What to do?  I still had to bake the pudding!

so I let it go.

I took it out, set it on the stove and told myself to learn to live with the syrup and not the sauce results.

On to the actual pudding.  Once more I question the instructions.  Because according to the book I was suppose to “Drain and reserve any creme anglaise that had not been absorbed by the bread crumbs. There will be almost 1/2 cup.”  Well, let me tell you my brioche was a total creme hog.  Because I did not have ANYTHING to drain.  In fact my cubes were all plumb and nice full of creme anglaise and no way, no how was it going to give it up, unless I squeeze the 1/2 cup required.

I was tired and cranky.  I once more talked myself into living with it and moved on to fill my molds with the “hoggin” bread cubes, set them in a roasting pan, cover with foil and fill it up with water and into the oven they went.

After the 40 minutes and the required thermometer reading, I took them out and inverted one unto a serving plate.  Let’s call this move, a “test run”.

And my screams were heard around the world.

Mold to plate, nothing.  Ran the metal spatula once more between the sides and tried again.  Felt it come out of the mold.  Looked at the mold and what do I find?

Caramel sauce - not.melted! Half of the pineapples stuck to the UN-MELTED caramel sauce.

FAILURE!  Rose, you.are.killing.me!

The caramel sauce, was totally set at the bottom of the mold.  What the hell happen here?  I took the pineapples out and try to move the mass of caramel out of the mold.  No dice.

A ha! Light bulb moment! Nukey time!

30 seconds later?  Caramel melted, bubbling in fact… but tacky, creating sugar threats all over my counter, spatula and serving plate.  The mess was unreal!

Guess, what? I told myself, “live with it” and I scratched the caramel.  Instead, I took my roasted sauce syrup and pour it over the the whole thing and call it a day.

Tasted it and found that I really like the pudding texture.  I was warm and not mushy (which I was totally afraid of).. and it was not overly sweet unless you took a bite with the roasted pineapples - which was totally way to sweet for my taste buds.

But, remember I LET.IT.GO.

The next day, I put the preheated instructions to the test and back in the oven they went for a 30 minute warm up bath.

The score card?  Caramel - 1,  Monica - 0

The return play? Caramel - into the trash,  Monica - win!


Tom: “I love it, you are right its not mushy at all.  Liking the roasted pineapples”
Future Mother in Law: “Monica, this is wonderful, its not as sweet as I thought it would be”
My mother: “Really like this, I totally don’t get the caramel not working, but its good without it, I think the caramel would have made it overly sweet”.
The little Man:  No comment, he was too busy wolfing it down, but I got 2 thumbs up, which in his world means I rocked it.
This recipe was hard.  I have not ideas if it was too many steps and too many variables that seem to go as planned but then fell apart at the end.  Would I do this one again? I got 2 thumbs up on this one, I don’t think I can get away from saying no in the future if he request it.  But, I would totally tweak it to make it work.  Which means that caramel from hell is out.
See, I let it go.