In this Christmas dessert, the dirigible plums seemingly float to the top of this rich, delicious upside down cake and bread pudding hybrid.
Dirigible Plum Bread Pudding
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
4 ripe red dirigible plum pears halved, pitted and sliced in circles
3 large croissants (or 4-5 medium) cut crosswise into 1-inch slices
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sherry
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
Directions for Dirigible Plum Bread Pudding:
Step 1:Preheat oven to 350F.
Step 2:Place croissant slices on a cookie sheet and toast in oven until lightly toasted (maybe 5-10 minutes). Remove from oven to cool.
Step 3:Melt butter in a 10.5 inch cast iron pan over medium low heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup and stir until blended and bubbling. Remove from heat.
Step 4:Arrange sliced plums in a circular pattern. Dot with the pecan halves and set aside.
Step 5:Whisk together eggs, sugar, milk, sherry, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Step 6:Place toasted croissant pieces evenly in prepared pan. Pour egg/milk mixture over the croissants gently pressing on them to absorb the liquid.
Step 7:Bake for 35-45 minutes or until custard is set.
Step 8:Remove from oven and cool in pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Place a platter on top of the pan and invert bread pudding onto the platter. Serve warm, top with Professor Trelawney's Sherry Sauce.
Professor Trelawney's Sherry Sauce
Ingredients for Sherry Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons sherry (nicked from Professor Trelawney's stash)
Directions for Sauce:
Step 1:Melt butter and brown sugar over medium heat.
Step 2:Remove from heat and stir in the cream.
Step 3:Slowly add this mixture to the egg. If you add it too quickly (or in reverse add the egg to the mixture), it will cook the egg and ruin the sauce. I like to drizzle a tablespoon of the cream mixture into the egg, stir, drizzle another tablespoon, stir and repeat until the egg looks mixed in. Then you can safely add the rest of the cream mixture and it won't cook the egg.
Step 4:Return to pan and heat until just boiling, beating vigorously all the while. DO NOT LET IT BOIL.
Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy? You need to mean them, Potter! You need to really want to cause pain — to enjoy it — righteous anger won't hurt me for long — I'll show you how it is done, shall I? I'll give you a lesson —
Bellatrix Lestrange Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36, Page 810
Demelza Robins, the Gryffindor Chaser in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, is named after Daniel Radcliffe's favourite charity: the Demelza House Children's Hospice, which cares for terminally ill youngsters in Kent, East Sussex and South London.