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Ricotta Vanilla Bread Pudding
Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons butter (preferably unsalted), melted
6 slices challah bread, each 1¼ inches thick, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup golden raisins
1 cup milk
1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground vanilla

Preliminaries: Bring water to a boil. You’ll need enough to reach 1 inch of water up the side of the souffle dish after it’s placed in the slow- cooker bowl.

Combine bread-raisin mixture: Coat a 1½-quart souffle dish with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Add bread and raisins to dish. Pour milk over top; stir to combine. Set aside.

Prepare ricotta mixture: Mix together the ricotta, sugar, eggs, sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla. Pour ricotta mixture over bread; mix lightly. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon butter over bread and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover dish with aluminum foil. Place souffle dish in slow cooker bowl. Fill bowl with boiling water to reach 1 inch up the side of the souffle dish.

Cook the pudding: Cover top of slow cooker with a dish towel. Top with cooker lid. Cook for 2½ hours on high, or until internal temperature registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Presentation: Cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Source: Adapted recipe from “Art of the Slow Cooker” by Andrew Schloss (Chronicle Books), reprinted in Family Circle magazine, April 17, 2009.

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