How do you feel about food waste?
I mean, before the times we are currently living in, do you think people really thought about what was in their fridge and how to use leftovers?
Sometimes it takes a drastic social change to make us re-think the way we live.
Just three weeks ago, not too many people would have been searching the backs of their refrigerators to make sure nothing was going bad. Most people would have re-stocked every few days without giving it a second thought.
Well, things quickly changed, didn’t they?
Like any major change in your life, it makes you re-think how you do things (uhhhh hello, first time home buyers with a new mortgage! That latte and muffin every morning that puts you back $10 isn’t looking so smart now, is it??). It’s become clear that, when the novelty of having “more than you need” changes to “make sure you use what you have”, it makes people think more wisely.
Now, don’t get me wrong…I don’t want to sound like a downer. Treating yourself and not panicking at the thought of throwing away one spear of asparagus is okay every so often…and not re-using plastic wrap isn’t going to have a catastrophic affect on your life. I’m just saying that, times like this make you realize that we should never take for granted the abundance we live with on a daily basis.
So, I’m here to help!
For those of you that have followed me for the years I have been on this platform, you already know I play the “waste not want not” game pretty fiercely. For those of you that are new, you’re in for a ride!! Ahahaha!
Today’s lesson focuses on leftover bread.
Not sure if you’ve all noticed but a ton of people are trying their hand at homemade bread…and I love it!!!! I’ve been making my Irish Soda Bread and telling everyone how easy (and yummy!!) it is and, holy moly, everyone has been giving it a shot! That makes me so happy.
But I’ve also seen people making all sorts of homemade bread from brioche to sourdough to english muffins (so proud of all you guys!!!).
The thing that many people don’t know – especially those who don’t normally make homemade bread, is that, without preservatives, it goes stale pretty quickly.
Enter in today’s #LegendaryLeftover dish….
Old fashioned Bread Pudding!
All you need is whatever leftover bread you have (the more structure the better). I’ve used challah or brioche (which is my favourite), regular toast bread and even Italian bread (just make sure you cut the crust off if it’s chewy – save that for breadcrumbs!). Below is some dried out panettone from christmas!
You can even use leftover donuts or croissants…you do you, honey!!
And, because I love y’all and don’t want to singlehandedly make you unhealthy humans, let’s add a handful of fruit (you choose…I used canned peaches but you could also use frozen).
Add in some sugar, a few eggs and milk (plus a bit of inspiration from my friend Julie Jones and her first Cookbook, The Soulful Baker!!), and you have a pretty epic dish!
I find making this in individual portions (like in these ramekins – you can also make them in muffin cups) is great for two reasons:
It serves up prettier than scooping a spoonful from a large baking dish onto a dessert plate
You can bake off only as much as you need (if there’s only two if you, wrap up the rest and freeze them, uncooked, to bake baked off another time!!)
Need some encouragement?
YOU CAN DO IT!!!
(that’s me in my larger-than-life voice!!!)
Easy Old Fashioned Bread Pudding
6-8 cup day old bread, cubed you can also use stale croissants and day-old donuts
1 - 1 1/2 cups fresh fruit, chopped (I used canned peaches) you can also use frozen fruit
2 cups milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; if you are using individual ramekins (you'll use about 8), spray them with cooking spray (alternatively, if you are making this in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, spray it well).
If you don't have bread that is day-old or stale, cut the bread into 1-inch cubes, spread it on a cookie sheet and place it in the oven as it's pre-heating (you need it to be dry so it doesn't become a slushy mess!); place the bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside.
Add the chopped fresh fruit to the bread cubes and toss to incorporate.
In another large bowl (I used an 8 cup measuring bowl), add the milk, eggs and sugar; whisk until combined. Pour over the bread cubes and fruit mixture and gently toss; leave to sit for 5 minutes.
Spoon the bread mixture equally into the ramekins and then evenly divide whatever liquid is left in the bottom of the bowl (this is custard and will thicken with the bread mixture as it cooks). Place the ramekins onto a foil-lined baking sheet so it catches all the drips while it bakes. Alternatively, if you are baking this in a large baking dish, just dump the whole thing in.
Place your bread pudding onto the middle rack of the oven and bake until puffy (around 20-25 minutes for the ramekins and 30-40 minutes for the larger baking dish).
When finished baking, remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes (it will naturally deflate); dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately!