I’m not sure if it is nature of nurture, but I am incapable of throwing away food. I suspect it comes from working in professional kitchens, where everything is used or money is lost. As a result I have scraps of all my baking projects in the freezer(s). Once in a while I go through and take inventory and try to use it up. Usually this happens around the time my husband is trying to fit something in there and can’t find an inch of room. This time I found several batches of waffles that I’d frozen over the past couple of months. I always intend to freeze them, like Eggo waffles, and just toast them for the boys in the morning. But, when it comes right down to it, I just can’t make myself do it. They just don’t toast up well. So, what to do with all these waffles I’d unearthed? Bread pudding. It is what I would do with leftover brioche and these are just as eggy and rich. The result was a delightful surprise and now a family favorite. Strawberry sauce and whipped cream on top and you have a breakfast fit for a king, or a son’s 10th birthday, which is exactly what I gave mine on his big day.
4 to 5 leftover waffles (the leftover ones absorb more of the custard. If you use fresh ones, you may want to dry them out in the oven for a few minutes.)
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream, plus more to serve on top
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
4 cups whole fresh or frozen strawberries
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (depends on the sweetness of the strawberries)
2 teaspoons orange zest
To make the waffle bread-pudding:
preheat the oven to 325° and butter a 9 x 13-inch oval baking dish.
Whisk together the milk, cream, yolks, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, zest and brandy.
Arrange the waffles in the baking dish and pour the custard over the top.
Press the waffles down into the custard and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the waffles to absorb the custard.
Bake, tented with foil for about 45 to 50 minutes. Check it after about 30 minutes to make sure the custard isn’t already set up. You can turn the pan at this point and remove the foil. Test the custard by poking the center to make sure it is no longer liquid. Once it sets up like thin pudding it is done. It should not set hard or the custard will not be smooth.
While the pudding bakes make the Strawberry sauce by placing all the strawberries, sugar, zest and 2 tablespoons water into a pot with a lid and cook over low heat. You want to cook the fruit gently so it will not fall apart. Cooking times will depend on the fruit.
Spoon the berries over the pudding and add a dollop of freshly whipped cream. The pudding can be served hot or at room temperature. Switch out the whipped cream for ice cream and serve as dessert.
Another dessert from my freezer scraps: