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. (more…)
This season is bittersweet as far as fresh produce goes. On one hand my backyard urban farm is just a ghost of its lush summer self and I miss it. But, there are the apples, pears, persimmons, quince and the versatile sugar pumpkin, which are at the height of their season. I also associate the smell of sweet spices; cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and cardamom with cool weather. The mixture of the fruits and spices is baked up in quintessential American classics like apple and pumpkin pies, poached pears and some across-the-pond desserts like persimmon pudding and quince tarts. All of these combinations are pure comfort; warm, sweet and hearty. Another classic pairing that fits this description are prunes & Armagnac. So when thinking about the ultimate fall pudding I layered together pumpkin, spices, the prune combo, caramelized the crust and topped the whole thing with maple spiced walnuts. It is outrageous and something you can eat for dessert, brunch or an after school snack. It was equally tasty hot and served cold.
I used cubes of slightly stale bread, something I always have around, but I have also done this pudding with vanilla pound cake or gingerbread.
*Some big news below! (more…)