Slumber party highlight: The pleasure dome

That's right, my friends and I still have slumber parties. I highly recommend it. When I host, there's homemade food, romantic comedies, and for some reason, we end up doing elaborate photo shoots. My friends allow me to experiment with make-up, fit them with wigs, and position them atop our dining table.

But my home is no longer the number one venue for slumber parties, and rightfully so. One of my friends has a hot tub the size of Texas, and a few spare bedrooms. She lives in a magical home with Busch Gardens-eque touches of old Europe. It is surrounded by trees, with rock walls, a roaring fireplace, and a screened-in porch with hammocks.  

cibes Tuscan bread

At the last gathering, we agreed on take-out. And being the gracious guests that we are, none of us arrived empty-handed. (Never show up empty-handed!). Unfortunately, we couldn't stop talking, and the window for take-out had passed. When we assessed our host gifts, we realized that we had all brought sweets. There were doughnuts, Ghiradelli chocolates, strawberry cake, and apple fritters. One friend saved the day - my friend Lori brought a savory pull-apart bread with cheese. Though that name doesn't quite describe the glory of it. I shall call it the pleasure dome.

This addictive party treat is almost too easy to prepare, and Lori was gracious enough to share the recipe. It was the highlight of our slumber party spread.

The Pleasure Dome

Recipe ingredients:

  • One loaf of crusty bread - nothing soft that will fall apart. A round Tuscany loaf or sourdough from a bakery will do.
  • One block of Monterrey jack cheese
  • One block of pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup of spring onions, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 stick of melted butter (salted)
  • 6 cloves of chopped garlic (that's a minimum for me - I'd do half a head of garlic!)
pull apart cheesy bread

Recipe instructions:

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees¬†Fahrenheit
  • Keeping the loaf together, use a bread knife to slice the bread criss-cross across the top, a couple of inches deep. This will form roughly 1-inch cubes. It's natural for a few pieces of crust to tumble off. You can stuff them back in later.¬†
  • In the groves¬†between the bread cubes, stuff with thin hunks of cheese. You can play with¬†thickness but 1/3 inch thickness works well. Stuff one type of cheese in one direction, and the other type of cheese in the opposite direction.
  • Place most of the chopped garlic within the groves along with the cheese, distributing it evenly.
  • Transfer the bread from your cutting board onto a sheet pan covered in foil. You will eventually cover the dome with foil, so no need to fit foil to the pan.¬†
  • Sprinkle with chopped onions, poppy seeds, the remaining chopped garlic, and drench¬†it in¬†melted butter.
  • I would dust this off with one final hit of salt to enhance it,¬†though it was not in the original recipe.
  • Cover with foil so the heat stays trapped and melts the cheese into the bread.
  • Place into the¬†oven for 15-20 minutes.
cheesy bread

The aroma alone will liven up the gathering, and everyone will anticipate tearing off little cheesy, garlicky cubes of goodness. Prepare for cheese pulls, oohs and ahhs, and a few compliments. 

And, with respect to Lori's family, I will repeat the last step in their recipe outline: "Eat it like a lion." 

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