Avon Van Hassel

Building Worlds and Filling Them With Magic

So, if you’ve read my free holiday story, Wintersufel, you’ll know all about Princess Rona and the rite-of-passage of a sumptuous dish symbolically served during the Midwinter feast.

If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s adorable. And there’s a lot of food in it.

So here, for the last blog post of this hellish year, I offer a recipe I’ve been obsessing over for 7 years, yet somehow just now actually attempted: Rona’s Wintersufel, a bread pudding with pears poached in mulled mead.





  • 8 eggs
  • 1 Loaf of bread, stale (light wheat or sturdy white)*
  • 1/2 cup Half and half
  • 1 1/2 cup + 1Tbl Heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Ginger


  • 4 bartlett Pears
  • 1 Bottle of mead
  • 1Tbl Mulling spices 


  • In advance, bring a whole bottle of mead with mulling spices. Do not add sugar like with traditional mulled wine.
  • Halve and core pears and boil in mulled mead for 10 mins or until soft.
  • If you can’t use them within the next couple of days,  you can preserve them using a hot water bath canning method.
  • On the day of, cut the bread into cubes and put into a large soup pot. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine half and half, honey, spices, and 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. Mix with a whisk until mixed to your satisfaction. 
  • Add egg mixture to bread cubes and stir until mixed and the bread has broken completely down to a uniform mush. If you have a few chunks of tough crust, it’s ok.
  • Transfer pudding to a round casserole dish. 
  • Bake at 350 for 30 mins.*
  • While doing that, slice the pears as thin as you can.
  • Take the pudding out, poke deep holes into the almost-done pudding and pour leftover spiced mead over it, as much as you think is enough to keep it from overcooking.
  • Place pear slices in fan patterns all over the top.
  • Put back into the oven for an additional 15 mins.
  • Take out of the oven. Sprinkled with powdered sugar* and serve immediately with heavy cream, if desired.
It was so good, y’all

I’m actually really pleased with the way this turned out, especially since I made it up on the fly, completely without a recipe! If you decide to give it a try, let me know what you think!

I hope you all have a fabulous holiday season, and that 2021 treats you better than 2020 did.


  • * My mum made me a loaf from her bread machine. Commercial loaves of may yield different results
  • *Our oven died in August, so I’m using the convection oven setting on my microwave
  • *I didn’t dust mine in powdered sugar, and I wish I had, lol.

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