Sunday is Mother’s Day.
The day we set aside to honor the good mamas of the world.
A simple “thanks” however seems hardly enough.
Especially for the extra special ones.
Now, I know that a lot of girls think this about the first, major female figure they laid their newborn eyes on but in Mama Lazarakis’s case, it’s extra true.
Mama Lazarakis has been — through no fault of her own — a slipper-throwing mom, who has also always been a profoundly creative and talented mom.
She apprenticed under the woman who made the clothes for the Court of the Queen of Greece.
And working during the days and going to school at nights, that’s exactly what she became.
And married my father and raised a family too.
Yet, even with all that creativity and talent, she always put us first.
Sewed up the holes in my jeans as soon as they started to appear.
Packed prunes instead of Twinkies in my brother and I’s bag lunches.
Stayed up late — for all three years of acting conservatory — to help me learn my lines.
Greek danced at Christopher and I’s wedding. (And taught my friends too).
All the while showing me — along with my dad — that family, love and magic were indeed, very, very real because they lived in every meal.
And teaching me how to be a μπουμπουλίνα — a brave woman — because she’s the bravest one I know.
And I can only truly thank her with my heart and with love, which is really, so very little.
For this Mama Lazarakis whose first name is Βασιλική, which in Greek stands for Royal.
The greatest moms deserve only the very best. This bread pudding is nothing but. All goat milk goodness, it’s all at once subtle and deliciously divine. With hints of ginger and cardamom — not too sweet but just right — paired along side with tart maple-y rhubarb, you’re toasting Mama right.
Serves 4 – 6
For Mapled Rhubarb
Just under half a pound fresh rhubarb, chopped (the more red, the better)
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup organic maple syrup
2 tablespoons maple sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 pinches ground nutmeg
2 pinches ground cloves
pinch of sea salt
For Bread Pudding
6 – 7 slices (6 ounces) two day-old sourdough wheat bread
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 cups goat milk
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch sea salt
3 tablespoons crystalized ginger chips
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons raw pecans, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 x 9 inch non-stick baking pan well with unsalted butter, making sure to get into all the corners. Set aside.
Boil enough water to fill a roasting tray half full, and lower heat to a simmer while you prepare mapled rhubarb.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine rhubarb, water, maple syrup, maple sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low — stirring often — and allow mixture to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes or until rhubarb has completely softened and resembles thick, smooth applesauce.
Remove from heat, allow to cool completely and then place covered in refrigerator while you prepare bread pudding.
Spread one side of each bread slice with butter.
Using a serrated knife, cut buttered bread slices into 1-inch cubes. You should have 6 cups. Set aside.
Note: Feel free to discard (or snack on) any left-over bread cubes.
In a large mixing bowl — using a wire whisk — combine eggs, goat milk, turbinado sugar, vanilla extract, ground cardamom, and sea salt until well combined. Add cubed bread and crystallized ginger chips to mixture and fold gently until well combined.
Pour mixture into prepared, well-greased baking pan and spread evenly. Let mixture stand for about 5 – 10 minutes, gently pushing down on bread cubes with spatula, to make sure batter is being soaked up well by all the bread.
Sprinkle chopped pecans evenly over top, followed by turbinado sugar.
Place roasting tray on middle rack of preheated oven, line bottom with a kitchen towel, and very quickly and very carefully fill quarter-full with boiling water.
Carefully set baking pan with bread pudding into the water bath you just created in the roasting tray and fill — if needed — with more boiling water until water reaches halfway up side of baking pan.
Bake bread pudding for 40 – 45 minutes or until top of pudding is puffy and golden brown and knife inserted into center comes out hot.
Note: If bread pudding is not browning, feel free to turn oven to “Broil” for the last 5 minutes of baking time. Just be sure to watch pudding carefully so it doesn’t burn!
When bread pudding is ready — using tongs and a heavy-duty kitchen towel — very carefully transfer baking pan to a cooling rack and allow pudding to cool until warm to touch.
Using a large serving spoon, spoon bread pudding into small serving bowls and serve immediately with a dollop of cold mapled rhubarb on the side.
Share and enjoy!
- Warm Bread Pudding with Creamy Cinnamon Icing (mycrazyblessedlife.com)
- Rhubarb Crumble Pie (thekitchn.com)
- 7 things to do with the rhubarb growing in your yard (cbc.ca)