A Quick Quiz
The Princess Bride Is:
A movie in which Homeland’s Saul Berenson duels a six-fingered man, accompanies a giant into battle and helps save a princess
A movie based on a 1973 novel by William Goldman
One of the best films ever made
All of the above
If you chose “4:All of the above” you’re correct, and Guilder, an inconceivably delicious café on Fremont Street in NE Portland, pays homage to it as such.
With a menu filled with items with names like Miracle Max — a fried egg, avocado and spicy tomato jam sandwich named after a character played by Billy Crystal, and Buttercup Toast — a trifecta of sweetness named after Princess Buttercup that includes almond butter and cranberry apple butter with cardamom candied almonds atop — the food is as well curated as it is cleverly named.
The last time I visited Guilder, Chef Jess Smith set down a plate of warm bread pudding in front of me accompanied by a Mirolindo coffee. If any day in recent memory made me feel like a princess, this was it. And as the rain fell in typical Portland fashion (rain-sun-rain-sun), Jess explained the history of my dessert.
The History of Bread Pudding
“Bread pudding is one of the oldest known pastry items,” she tells me. “It’s a great wat to make a meal using what is likely already in your kitchen — old bread, a few eggs, milk and sugar.”
According to the The Daily Gazette, food historians trace the history of bread pudding to the early 11th and 12th centuries; in 13th century England, it was known as “poor man’s pudding” since it was a popular dish with the lower classes.
And while the dessert’s roots may be humble, the results are anything but. Warm and soft in the middle with crispy, crunchy edges, the pudding is so subtly sweet, it’s almost savory.
“You can use any kind of berry for the bread pudding as well,” says Jess. “You can add lemon, you can add cocoa powder to make it a chocolate bread pudding and you can make it savory by swapping out fruit for herbs and meat, in which case, it’s called a Strata.”
But back to the dessert kind, cause, you know, sweet vs. savory? I think you know which wins…
As for what I’m drinking, my Mirolindo coffee derives from a three-producer lot, which means it comes from three different farms in Colombia and was roasted by Guilder’s Co-Owner Mike Nelson. The coffee’s flavor profile — accents of brown sugar, orange and vanilla — is a perfect complement to the bread pudding, highlighting the sweeter elements while adding a hit of acidity.
So next time you find yourself staring into your “empty” fridge … look again … there might just be a few miracle items in there waiting to be turned into gold.
Make It Yourself
Dairy-Free Oregon Strawberry & Salted Caramel Bread
Makes 8 slices
What you need:
2-3 cups toasted ciabatta
2 cups Oregon strawberries, quartered, divided
1 ½ cups coconut milk
½ tsp salt
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
How to prepare:
Spray or butter a 4x9 loaf pan. Fill it, above the rim, with toasted ciabatta or toasted country bread (the bread does not have to be fresh).
Puree with an immersion blender or food processor the custard ingredients. Pour ½ over bread bits and allow to sit for 10 minutes, compressing bread with your hands to ensure the custard has a chance to soak through.
Sprinkle ½ cups of strawberries over bread.
Fill loaf pan with custard until mixture reaches just below the rim of pan. Allow to soak for 10 additional minutes. Cover bread with ½ cup more of strawberries. Sprinkle mixture with sugar.
While pudding is baking, make caramel: put sugar into a medium saucepan. Cook on medium low heat until a deep mahogany color is achieved, and sugar has deepened its smell.
Lower the heat and slowly pour in coconut milk. Mixture will sputter and spray, be careful!
Whisk as you go and keep heat low, allowing caramel to thicken as it cooks down, about 20 minutes. Pull off heat once desired thickness has been achieved.
Bake 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees, checking at 45 minutes – pudding should have no jiggle and no liquid remaining.
Allow pudding to cool at room temp for 2 hours or chill.
Serve warm with remaining strawberries and caramel, or as Wesley says, “As you wiiiiiiiiiiish...”
How To Pair It
As for a coffee pairing, head to your favorite local coffee shop or roaster and ask for a Colombian blend with well-balanced acidity and accents of brown sugar, orange and vanilla.
As always, we’re dying to hear about your experience making this dish, watching this movie or doing both at the same time!