Welcome and #PullUpaChair to the Food Network’s Communal Table Virtual Thanksgiving.
Let’s roll back the hands of time, ahemmm..irty years or so ago, to when I was about 6 or 7. It’s Wednesday night, the day before Thanksgiving. Dad is in the kitchen, there are a few scattered egg shells, a can of ice cold Modelo beer, one or two empty cans of fruit cocktail, and a few crumbs of Cuban bread lingering on the wood-like formica countertops. Hey, it was the 70s—formica counter tops were all the rage. He is preparing his famous Pudín Diplomático to bring with us to my uncle’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner, it was our usual contribution to the Thanksgiving table.
Most of our holidays were celebrated at my uncle’s house—a typical 50s bungalow style home, down to the yellow wood siding and raised front porch. I loved that house, so many great memories.
Holidays were one of the few times I was certain we would get from point A to point B via car, a 1960 something or other metallic brown Mercury Comet—Mom was the driver of the family. My dad never learned to drive while living in Cuba, and once he got to the US he tried learning once, but was a nervous wreck after just one lesson, so he gave up and left the driving entirely up to my mom.
If Dad and I were lucky mom would turn on the car radio and tune it to her favorite classical station—she thought if we used the radio too much it would drain the car battery and leave us stranded somewhere in the middle of nowhere (nowhere, being somewhere between Sunset Blvd. in LA and the city of Bell—sans freeways, thank you very much). Don’t even mention the loading up of an 8-track cassette (I know, I’m dating myself…) who knows what would happen! Most of the time is was just more “practical” (less expensive) to take public transportation.
But enough of my childhood drama, you are here for dessert. Sadly I never got the original recipe for my dad’s Diplomatic Pudding, so I had to scavenge through old cookbooks and the web to put together my version of his famed dessert.
Don’t be surpsied to see I’ve replaced the traditional Cuban Rum with French Lillet, remember I said I added my own touch to the dessert. By the way, I’m happy to report it worked beautifully.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 - 2" slices (or 3 cups cubed) cuban or french bread
- 1 can condensed milk
- 1½ cups water
- 1 - 4" cinnamon stick
- 1 cup fruit cocktail, drained
- 1¼ cup Lillet
- 4 large eggs
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- Place oven rack in lower 3rd portion of oven. Preheat to 350 degrees.
- Melt sugar for caramel in a small saucepan over medium heat, about 5-6 minutes. Pour into a 9x9 oven safe dish and swirl to cover entire bottom of dish.
- Arrange bread slices (or bread cubes) over caramel.
- Combine condensed milk, water, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil. Cover and steep for 10 minutes.
- Combine drained fruit cocktail and Lillet in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Lightly whisk eggs, vanilla, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl.
- Remove cinnamon stick from milk mixture. Gradually pour ¼-1/2 cups of milk mixture into egg mixture to temper. Pour egg mixture back into milk mixture, stir to incorporate.
- Drizzle lillet over bread slices to moisten and distribute fruit evenly over the top.
- Pour milk mixture over bread slices and bake for 80-90 minutes.
- Allow pudding to come to room temperature, transfer to refrigerator to chill for at least 2-3 hours.
Make sure you enjoy some of these other amazing dishes:
Cocktails, Appetizers, Soups and Salads:
Sweet Life Bake: Pumpkin Margarita
Easy Peasy Organic: Thanksgiving Ginger Cocktail
Dishin and Dishes: Butternut Squash Bruschetta With Sage Pesto
Mooshu Jenne: Green Salad
Two Peas and Their Pod: Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Apple Salad
Jones is Hungry: Roasted Vegetable Salad
Purple Cook: Pasta and Bean Stew With Tomatoes and Broccoli Rabe
From My Corner of Saratoga: Curried Pumpkin Soup
Cafe Terra Blog: Cranberry Pumpkin Stuffing
Virtually Homemade: Twice-Baked Cheddar and Chive Potatoes
Easy Eats Magazine: Sausage and Dried Cranberry-Walnut Stuffing
The Sensitive Epicure: Oyster Dressing and Gravy
Daily*Dishin: Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes Supreme
What’s Gaby Cooking: Rustic Herb Skillet Stuffing
Family Fresh Cooking: Coconut Brown-Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Silvana’s Kitchen: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Mushroom-Rye Stuffing
The Cultural Dish: Cranberry Sauce
I Am Baker: Pumpkin Cake
Heather Christo: Pumpkin Vanilla Ice Cream Pie
And Love It Too: Pumpkin Custard (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
Haute Apple Pie Girls: Double Pumpkin Mini Pies With Candied Pecans
Ladles and Jelly Spoons: Not Your Same Old Pumpkin Pie
Thursday Night Dinner: Red Wine Chocolate Cake
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Caramel Apple Pie