GYAH! STAR WARS IS OUT TODAY!!!111one
I can’t say that no, you have no idea, because as a geek you know EXACTLY how it feels. After the disappointment of the prequels you were cautious, but optimistic. Each new trailer over the past few months has been bringing a whole new hope for the franchise. And to celebrate this re-awakening, I will be releasing not just one, but TWO Star Wars themed recipes this week. The first one being a great Wookie favorite: Wasaka Berry Pudding.
Surprisingly enough, the books and games mention food and delicacies often where the film is for the most part lacking. Mentioning it is one thing, however, describing it is entirely another. When you live in a galaxy far far away, it can be a bit of a chore comparing ingredients with no equal in our remote corner of the universe.
Thankfully, Wookiepedia did not disappoint. I just happened upon a fun little dish called “Wasaka Berry Pudding“. First appearing in The Wookie Storybook in 1979, this dessert is the favorite birthday dish of none other than everyone’s favorite walking carpet, Chewbacca. The Wasaka Berry is a rare fruit found only in the treacherous lower levels, also known as the ‘Nother World, of wookie homeworld Kashyyk. Our planet’s visual equivalent is the raspberry.
Wasaka Berry Pudding looks suspiciously like souffle. I decided to use the bread pudding souffle recipe with cream sauce from The New Orleans’ Commander’s Palace as an inspiration. Normally this recipe uses a really light french bread to get its crazy dome shape. However I decided to sacrifice form for flavor and character and went with a 9 grain and seed bread to better reflect the cuisine of a forest planet.
I also took some inspiration from the fact that several books in the Star Wars’ Expanded Universe describe Han Solo’s eyes being the color of Corellian brandy. Since no birthday party for Chewie would be complete without his bestie, the cream sauce is flavored with a healthy dose of moonshine from that smuggler’s homeworld. I ended up using cognac since I had it leftover from my Seared Nug recipe, you can use whatever brandy you prefer. An apricot brandy would also be a nice addition and pair well with the raspberry.
Some notes on the recipe: make sure you have a stand mixer or pretty high-powered hand mixer to beat the egg whites. I thought I could save myself from cleaning a dish by starting out with my immersion blender. It was just not fast or powerful enough to create the meringue I needed. Also be careful when removing the souffles from the oven and setting them down so they do not fall.
Fun tip: Need something to do with all those extra egg yolks? Cure them in kosher salt and sugar to later grate them over salads and pastas!
Wasaka Berry Pudding with Corellian Brandy Cream Sauce
Serves 4-8 (puddings are large enough to feed 2 per ramekin)
Equipment – Oven, stand or hand mixer with whisk attachment, saucepan, whisk, 8×8 baking dish, 4, 4-inch ramekins.
- 5 cups whole grain and seed bread, cubed in 1 inch pieces
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup cream
- 3 eggs beaten
- 8 oz package raspberries
- cooking spray
- 9 egg whites
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tarter
- 1/4 cup and a splash of brandy
- splash lemon juice
- 3 Tb sugar
- 1/2 Tb cornstarch
- 1 cup cream
- large pinch sea salt
Start assembling the bread pudding. Mix sugar and spices together, add cream and eggs, and whisk until smooth. Put the bread cubes into a large bowl, pour the liquid mix over the bread and stir to incorporate fully. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread a layer of the pudding mixture on the bottom of the dish. Dot the mixture with raspberries, cover with the rest of the mixture and bake 30-45 minutes.
Make up the sauce while the pudding is cooling. Bring the cream to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Whisk the cornstarch and water in a separate container and then whisk into the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil again and reduce to a simmer for a few seconds. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, brandy and sea salt until fully dissolved and incorporated. Allow to cool and thicken while mixing up the meringue.
To make the meringue, use a powerful hand mixer and bowl or stand mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the egg whites and cream of tarter into a foam. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until the mixture thickens and forms stiff peaks.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF if you haven’t done so already. Break half of the cooled bread pudding into pieces in a large bowl. Carefully fold a quarter of the meringue into the pudding. Spray the inside of the ramekins with cooking spray and distribute pudding meringue mix in each one so the bottom is completely covered.
Break up the remaining bread pudding into the large bowl and carefully fold in the rest of the meringue. Top the ramekins with this mixture and smooth the tops with a spoon. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven, garnish tops with sauce and raspberries before serving.