The Miseducation of Peabody…

Since when did getting an education become a bad thing?
In my day, you either went to a community college for 2 years and then on to a 4 year university or you went to a 4 year university….for 4 years. Now granted I took 4 ½ years, but I got two degrees during that time and I went an extra semester just so I could student teach in the Fall (I wanted to see how a teacher set up her classroom, not one that was already established). And no one looked down on your for going to the same college all 4 years.
But I was listening to the radio the other day and a McDonald’s commercial came on. It was making fun of Starbucks by saying now that they offer all these coffee’s you no longer have to have  a degree in Russian literature to drink coffee. It says that you can go back to reading gossip magazines. Umm, really? I don’t feel like I need a degree in Russian literature to drink my Venti, half-caf, non-fat, sugar free cinnamon dolce, no whip (yes, I am difficult coffee orderer). Has no one who works for Corporate McDonald’s been to a Starbucks? I wouldn’t call most of the people in there sophisticated…heck, half of them are teenage girls…reading gossip magazines. Yes, Starbucks carries books and tries to promote reading (the horror) but I don’t get the feeling that I need a doctorate to do so.
Then there is the election coverage where it is implied by a certain favorite VP candidate of mine that I am somehow elite for getting a four year education at the same university. Yes, I feel elite driving my 5 year old (but paid for!) Ford Focus. I feel elite cleaning my house in sweatpants with holes in them. I feel elite when swinging by the Taco Bell on a Thursday night because I am too tired to cook. That’s me, elite.
Now don’t get me wrong. If you don’t get your degree in 4 years or all from the same university that is fine by me. But don’t belittle me because I did. Don’t have a college degree? Also fine by me. I was never one of those teachers who felt that every kid should go to college, because every kid shouldn’t. Some people are just more inclined to do work that doesn’t require a traditional college degree. I have several college degrees…but I sure can’t fix my car. But again, why make fun of me because I did get an education. It’s just so weird to me.
Now one thing I am an elitist about is dessert in a restaurant. Again, not your mom and pop type place, but an upscale place. If I am paying $9 for dessert, it better be flipping FANTASTIC. Case in point, we went out the other night to a new place. I really liked everything but stuffed myself silly. But, I saw on the menu that the had a Pear Bread Pudding. I have this thing where if I go to a restaurant and they have bread pudding and I haven’t had it yet, I order it. Kind of like my own personal quest to find the best bread pudding. $9 this sucker cost me. I got it home and it was quite large (so I was quite excited) but sadly the bread was almost dry (weird for bread pudding) and the pears were crunchy. Boo. What a waste. Of course I had to set them straight.
Since Anita (Dessert First) was the host of this months Sugar High Friday and her choice was spice, I thought I would show that restaurant how pear bread pudding should be looking and tasting. And since nutmeg goes so nicely with pear, and nutmeg is a spice, I figured this could be my entry. This one is made with a basic French bread. I saved money by buying day old bread…so this is a budget dessert (HA!). You can use whatever type of pear you would like but just make sure they are ripe, I learned all too well that crunchy pears are not good in this.
You can use whatever sauce you would like. I used a Dulce De Leche sauce that someone had given me. It was very tasty. I think a nice crème anglaise spiked with a little nutmeg would be great. And of course you can never go wrong with caramel.

Pear Nutmeg Bread Pudding

1 medium loaf French Bread
1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (this can vary based on how much you like nutmeg, I like nutmeg)
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pears, peeled, diced
½  cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350F.

The night before making the pudding. Cut French Bread loaf into rectangular pieces. Lay them out overnight on the counter uncovered, as to get stale.
In an greased but not floured 8-x-8-inch pan, sprinkle as many bread pieces as you can on the bottom. Sprinkle with ½ of the diced pears and ¼ cup raisins.
Mix the egg yolks, sugars, vanilla extract and nutmeg together in a bowl. Then stir in the heavy cream and milk.
Pour the custard over the bread first layer of bread. Press down the bread pieces until the bread is soaked with the custard. Again sprinkle bread (you will most likely have left over pieces…that’s okay, make croƒ»tons or bread crumbs out of them). Sprinkle the remaining pears and raisins on top. Pour enough custard over the bread so that when you press down on the bread, the bread is soaked in custard. Depending on how stale your bread is you may likely will have extra custard. Don¢â¬â„¢t feel like you have to use all the custard.
Place pan into another pan that will hold a water bath. Bake the bread pudding for 45 minutes to an hour until golden on top. Cool 10 minutes and serve warm. Serve with Dulce de Leche or Caramel sauce.

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  1. It just looks absolutely delish this Pear bread pudding, a twist on the traditional yum!!

  2. Awesome post!

  3. This looks so so good. Mmm dulce de leche. I’m a dessert elitist, too, and proud. Who wants mediocre dessert? Or dessert from a pastry chef that had to go to 5 or 6 schools before finally making it out… ;)

  4. This looks good! I like bread pudding, but don’t make it often because my husband doesn’t like it (boo to him!). I will admit to being a dessert elitist too- if I’m going to eat it, it better be worth the money and calories!
    I also agree with you about education. I don’t think my car mechanic needs to go to college, but I think that he should be able to get the best trade school education he can. I admire anyone who is good at what they do, no matter what their educational background may be :)

  5. umm, I think I’m just about as elitist as you (specially like that house cleaning part, fits so well).
    Yeah that sauce would make it for me!

  6. That looks delicious, especially with the drizzle of dulce de leche!

    I agree about education – I went to college with plenty of people who don’t have a lick of sense, and have met plenty of people with no formal education who are well read and super-intelligent. It isn’t the pedigree, it’s the smarts and what you do to grow them, IMHO!

  7. Mmmmmmm! Add Dulce de Leche to anything and I’m in love!

  8. Good for you! standing up to this trend that glorifies ignorance and laziness! I’m elitist, to be sure – I love me some Taco Hell. I’m not fond of slackers and I don’t do stupid (omg, stupid so gets on my nerves) and you find both at universities and non-university settings alike.

    There is nothing that pisses me off more than paying good $ for a dessert I could have made better. I’m a bread pudding whore ;) Looks fab.

  9. Your bread pudding looks a bit like Heaven!

    And, kudos for writing about frustrations with being teased about having an education! Education and intelligence are really not at all the same. And, the elitist stereotype is getting a bit old.

  10. I too am elitist about desserts (and food, in general) at restaurants :-)

    Oh my, that bread pudding looks magnificent; and that Dulce De Leche sauce that you speak of??? I need that. Now.

  11. What a gorgeous pudding! I made something very similar on Thursday and it was yummy…

    Forget about people who criticize you! Generally, it is a sign of jealousy…



  12. Great post. I dont judge people by degrees. Some of the dumbest people I know have MBA’a and some of the smartest didnt even finish undergrad. I think we crank out degrees here unlike Europe.My mom used to say ‘the race isnt to the swift’, so I dont care how long it takes one to finish their edudcation.
    And I want a dish of this heavenly bread pudding!

  13. I guess I don’t understand why people don’t like being labeled elitist. When did elitist become an insult? It’s like when people deny being liberal, or are offended if they are called liberal. If that’s what you believe and agree with, why be insulted when you are called that?

  14. I’m definitely the same way about ordering dessert at a nice restaurant. But, I have to say that if you take your dessert home instead of eating it there, you’re just asking for disappointment. Just my $0.02.

  15. HeartofGlass says:

    I too have multiple degrees and know quite well it doesn’t make me a better person, or a better anything–an education was an experience I wanted, and I wanted to ‘do it well’ and get the maximum out of it because I enjoy academics. I don’t see trying to be the best you can be at anything, whether it is hockey, or something intellectual, or baking or heck, plumbing, is elitist. Elitist to me means being smug and self-satisfied while striving for an education, whether in a trade like baking, or with books, or with anything means never being satisfied and always trying and never reaching for perfection.

    I agree, though–for nine bucks, maybe perfection isn’t expected, but close enough. Especially if the fruit is in season, for goodness sake! Clearly the place didn’t have your work ethic!

    Oh, btw, I can ‘beat’ your elite vehicle–I have a 1991 Toyota Corolla–a fuel-efficient, ‘foreign’ rust bucket. And I love it! $11.00 to fill up my tank today!

  16. I’m surprised to hear going for an undergrad degree is not considered “cool” here….that is if I surmised your post correctly. I come from India and a lot of things here in USA still baffle me.
    I am pursuing a master’s degree and when people(non-Indians especially) come to know about it, they immediately assume I’m no fun! No fair!

  17. My husband and I are both in Education and we are constantly dismayed at the way that being smart is considered uncool in school and then in adulthood likened to elitism.

  18. I have never baked with pears, I helped my mom make a pear and cheddar pie once that was great. I really love pears and have marked this recipe as a must try! thanks, great pics!

  19. I am so lame! I have been checking your blog and too frustrated with trying to type in the dark (one handed with sleeping baby no less) to comment. I am lame.

    That said, hey – I finally have a minute to myself, so I am using it to come and say hi! I love your new look and really fun header.

    This dessert looks fabulous. I’m sorry you got swindled out of your $9 for that lousy dessert. I really don’t even bother to order dessert anywhere anymore. Isn’t that sad?

    I am super impressed that you were able to get such a great education. I think all those kind of commercials where they ‘dumb down’ things for the lowest section of the public are insulting to everyone. You’d think they would think it through, but they don’t!

    Sorry for the extra LONG comment! ;)

  20. I so agree with you today. I worked hard for my degree and I am proud of it. I also paid for it and know that anyone who want a degree and is willing to work for it can get it. I also know lots of intelligent people who do not have degrees and are very successful. They also worked hard to get where they are today and continue to work hard. I know very few lazy successful people. I know a lot a lazy people who want us to give them what we worked hard for and I am sick of them.

  21. Ah, thank heavens the ‘silly season’ is almost over, but boo to McDonalds for contributing to the absurd division of ‘regular folk’ and ‘elite’ based upon education or reading or, really anything. I can be an elitist and/or a regular folk, depending on the day and the hour and who I’m with.
    LOVE the bread pudding! Pears are perfect for it, and it fits the season…and not at all silly.

  22. this is a nice variation to the bread and butter pudding . It looks delicious

  23. I love bread pudding and this look decadent. I’ll bet the whole dish was less then $9.00 to make, too!

  24. I agree, not liking the “elite”, “un-patriotic” parts of the country slinging going on. I didn’t graduate from college, but I sure love wine and brie, and beer, does that now make me “elite”?
    Anyway, my beef with fancy restaurant desserts is when they tell you there will be some kind of sauce, raspberry coulis, caramel, chocolate, whatever, and it comes with three drops of sauce on the plate. I mean why bother listing it as part of the dessert?
    The bread pudding looks great, love the dulce de leche addition.

  25. Great new site – I love it!! It is very fun & playful!

  26. Very funny post! I always order rice pudding or key lime pie when it is on the menu for the same reason.

    Everyone is making bread pudding lately and I am leaving puddles of drool all over my keyboard. I will have to break down and make it since I LOVE bread pudding.

  27. My dad graduated from college out of sheer will. He worked full time during the day and took night classes at the same time supporting my grandmother. My hubby was in college for 9 years because he couldn’t afford it all the time while supporting his mom , but he waited tables, ate pasta without sauce and he finally graduated magna cum laude. It is not being elitist…you’ve worked hard for it.
    Oooh…yummy bread pudding, btw.

  28. I get so mad when you pay so much for a fancy dessert and it turns out to be sub-par. I also get upset that every restaurant now seems to have a flourless chocolate cake that all the waiters tout as the best on the menu. At least your restaurant tried to get a little creative — I hope you sent them this recipe! :)

  29. I’m envious you were smart enough to figure out what you wanted to be in 4 years. It took me 10 years and 3 universities to figure out what I wanted to do and sure enough I’m back at another university for 2 more years because I changed my mind. And although I may not take my (paid off) 8 year old ford focus through taco bell, it’s only because I’m too elite to eat fast food. :)

    By the way, I love it when you vent. And if I liked pears I’d be all over this bread pudding.

  30. Wish I’d had this recipe when my pears were falling off the trees — I’ll bookmark and make it with pears from the local orchard.

  31. I completely agree with you. College/uni is NOT the only way to get where a person wants to be!

    Now that bread pudding must be the best I have seen! Just wow!

  32. I love pears, but even if I didn’t caramel makes everything better.

  33. Let me tell you how diabolical your site is….

    I moving this Friday…… so I’m buying boxes tomorrow and beginning to pack etc. etc.

    And I just HAVE to make your pear bread pudding (I absolutely LOVE bread puddings)

    before I move…..So I have to adjust my packing agenda so I have the right dishes and spices et al available so I can make it, and try it before I move….

    Peabody, I didn’t need this complication ok?


    But it looks so good, I just have to make it….

    ps. I didn’t know you were a bread pudding junkie….I am also….

    Next to Creme Brulee, it’s my FAVORITE dessert….!

  34. This looks like a perfect use of pears and bread. Bread pudding is a great wholesome dessert. I like your new site.

  35. Oh, tell me about it. It sucks when people who should know better make bad desserts.
    I have never tried bread pudding – it’s not part of our culinary habits, here – but I should! I really don’t know what I am waiting for. And now that you’ve topped it with dulce de leche, I know I won’t be able to resist.

    And nutmeg… You love it, don’t you, Pea?

  36. It seems ridiculous, but it really is so rare when you can get a good dessert out at a restaurant. Anything that gets made at home always seems to satisfy me more. Your bread pudding looks awesome. I only have one bread pudding recipe so I am excited to try yours and add some fruit to the mix!

  37. I get so upset when I order something and it’s not that great. I would take your baked goods over a restaurant version any day!

  38. I go out to eat so rarely that it had better be good when I do. Bad food makes me so sad! Way to show them how the bread pudding should be done. Extra caramel on mine, please.

  39. Dang, two strikes. I have a degree and I don’t live in a small town. What’s next?

  40. Yeah, funny how in the last four years someone’s managed to spin being intelligent and capable into elitism. Call me crazy, but if the worst thing you can say about the person I’m voting for is that they’re very well-educated and worldly then well.. like I said, I’ll gladly be called… crazy! :) That bread pudding looks fantastic!

  41. This dessert looks incredible- you should enter it in the BSI (if you want). I agree- I think those McDonald’s commercials are totally obnoxius. They drive me crazy. (oh and I <3 my extra hot grande skim misto with vanilla syrup)

  42. I feel the same way about desserts at restaurants :). Most of the time my motto is: If I can make it at home, why buy it? It certainly looks like your pudding came out moist!

  43. Are you f-ing joking me? 1500 cream puff swans? I think I would drown myself in pastry cream and just call the whole thing off…

  44. Ugh! Pears are my favorite and this looks just divine!! Makes me want to cook up something with pear right now! :)

  45. Mmmm delicious. You remind me of my favourite quote from my father in law who I’ve never met. ‘I dont like those clever people, you just cant trust them’.

    I agree about desserts in restaurants, its not rocket science, they are often terrible here in san diego, at least it saves my waistline! The exception I’ve found is the creme brulee at kous kous, and the desserts at the better half.

  46. I have given up listening to that woman or any of the other screeching women I hear supporting her on CNN. How anyone can say something so inane is…inane? Being at one school to get your education? Huh? Clearly, she’s run out of material. Does it count that I got mine at one school even if I had a 7 year break in the middle? Jeez. Whatever.

    Bread pudding is behind cheesecake for me, and I don’t order it on menus because it’s always rock hard and covered with way too much sauce. Yours, however sounds lovely. Pears are so nice when they’re baked.

  47. I love bread pudding and now is the perfect season to make it to. I will have to give the recipe a go.

  48. Looks good. Breakfast good.

  49. i love bread pudding but dulce de leche on top just puts that over the top! yum!

  50. Oh man I love bread pudding.

    Mind if I make this and blog it? With full credit to you of course.


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