Last week the music of Thomas Tallis, the father of English church music, was featured. This week it's the work of Ralph Vaughan Williams who played a primary role in establishing English sacred music in the 20th century. Himself an agnostic, he took on the task of revising the English Hymnal and the result was both solid and magical. He had long collected English folk tunes and incorporated many of those tunes in hymns he composed for the hymnal. Kingsfold is a wonderful example of the fusion of English folk music with English poetry. As such, "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say" has been included in Celtic celebrations as well as in Christian hymnals across many denominations.
Vaughn Williams may have been an agnostic, but that was surely reflective of the times that he was born into and the world in which we live today. He had a compassionate, humanitarian spirit and an ear for beauty and harmony. Kingsfold, set to the text by Horatius Bonar, 19th century Scottish poet and churchman, beautifully and transcendently declares our discovery of "this dark world's light."
(For further reading: Why Ralph Vaughan Williams should he as revered as William Shakespeare, by Simon Heffer, The Telegraph.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Every now and then, I will enjoy a bit of bread pudding. A while back, I decided to try to make the dish myself. I went online and looked at a few recipes and decided on this one by Emeril, found on the Food Network site. Since the recipe makes a large dessert (9 X 13 inch baking dish), I waited for a potluck opportunity to try it out. I must say that it was a complete success! Everyone who tried it raved, and there were no leftovers. One person mentioned that the whiskey sauce almost required a designated driver, but I don’t think it was a complaint.
I was pleased with the flavor and the texture. In fact, this recipe is better than any bread pudding I have tried before. The texture was very light, the flavors were delicate and delightful, and the sauce definitely added to the enjoyment. To prepare the dish, I went out and bought a 1-pound loaf of Italian bread at Winn-Dixie. I then followed the recipe exactly (except I didn’t use freshly grated nutmeg – I just used the ground nutmeg in my kitchen cabinet).
This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse, originally appearing in Emeril's Potluck, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2004. The original recipe can be found here.
Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 45 min
Cook Time: 1 hr
Serves: 10 to 12 servings
- 12 to 14 cups 1-inch cubes day-old white bread, such as French or Italian
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 cups whole milk
- 6 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 4 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
- 1 recipe Whiskey Sauce, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the bread in a large bowl. Grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish with the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside.
Combine the heavy cream, milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and raisins in a large bowl. Whisk to mix. Pour the cream mixture over the bread, and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.
Transfer the bread mixture to the casserole dish and bake until the center of the bread pudding is set, 50 to 60 minutes.
Garnish the bread pudding with confectioners' sugar and serve warm with warm Whiskey Sauce.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 cup bourbon or other whiskey
- Pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Photo: Bread pudding -- this is not a picture of the pudding I made, but was found at Wikimedia Commons. I don't feel bad about that because the photo used on the Food Network site is not Emeril's bread pudding either.