Your Life A to Z Recipe: Monday, November 24th, 2014: Pear and Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding and Pan-Fried Onion Dip By Maggie Norris

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Pear and Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding
Martha Stewart
Servings: 4

Unsalted butter, room temperature, for baking dish
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
7 ounces brioche, cut into eight 1/2-inch slices, halved diagonally
1 1/2 pounds firm but ripe pears, such as Anjou or Bartlett (about 3), cored and very thinly sliced
3 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon sanding or other coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle bottom evenly with chocolate. Arrange brioche in dish, alternating each slice with 3 or 4 pear slices.

In a large bowl, gently whisk together eggs and egg yolks, milk, cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

Pour mixture evenly over bread and pears and let sit 5 minutes. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake until brioche is puffed and custard is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pan-Fried Onion Dip
Ina Garten
Yields: 2 cups

2 large yellow onions
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup good mayonnaise

Cut the onions in half and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions.) Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.

Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.