Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Apple Bread Pudding from Leftovers

I hate wasting food. I'll eat leftovers of pretty much anything, even things I didn't like much in the first place. I'll eat things whose expired status is in serious question. I store celery butts, onion peels and other such in the freezer for soup stock.

So it especially upsets me when I see good, usable food thrown away for nothing better than a lack of imagination.

Case in point. We host a lot of training at my job. And we provide food. How much food varies between trainings, but at the bare minimum breakfast and snacks. And there are always leftovers. If I'm not around, the leftovers get tossed.

Thankfully, I was in charge of a recent training. And we had some odd leftovers. A pint of heavy cream (coffee leftovers). Five or so uneaten croissants. A bunch of apple halves. Half a veggie tray.

The veggie tray was an easy one - straight into the stock bag in the freezer. But the other stuff? Well hell, that's 2/3 of what you need for some wicked bread pudding. More than one person looked at me like I was nuts when I was packing things up, even after I explained what I was doing. A few gave me appreciative looks, but mostly nuts. Because even on a floor filled with progressives we're slaves to the disposable landscape syndrome.

These apples look all brown and icky. People looked at me askance when I packed them up

Anyway, back to my point: the recipe. As usual, I looked over five or six recipes to get ideas, and used none of them. Here's what I did, and how I did it.

4-5 cups of cubed croissants
Just slice off the brown part!
3ish cups of cubed apples (every recipe told me the red delicious apples I had were not good baking apples. They worked wonderfully. I say use whatever apples you have/want)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup (1/2 stick) butter
Some raisins (didn't measure, probably 1/2 cup or so?)
2 eggs
2 T bourbon
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger

Melt the butter in a pan with a large bottom. Add apples and let them sizzle for a minute. Add sugar, stirring, and let it caramelize slightly on apples. Add cream, spices, vanilla, and heat till steamy but not boiling. Add raisins, turn to low, leave to simmer for 10 minutes or so.

Preheat your oven to 350. Meanwhile, separate the eggs. Use the whites for something like angel food cake. Beat the yolks so they're smooth. Slowly add to hot creamy/apple-y/sugary/spicey goodness, whisking aggressively. This is where real chefs would temper the eggs, but again, I'm too lazy so I take this route. Whatever. Get the eggs incorporated without scrambling them. Switch to a flat bottom spatula and stir slowly, scraping the bottom. Add the bourbon, continue stirring. When it's thickened to where it doesn't run off the spatula, remove from heat.

Now add your croissants. Mix gently, so that the good stuff all gets soaked up nicely, but don't abuse the bready stuff. Pour it all into a 9x13" pan (or a smaller if you want a thicker bread pudding), stick it in the oven. Leave it in there 40 minutes or so, until it seems done (if you use a smaller pan/thicker pudding system, probably more like 50-60 min).

I got more feedback on this than anything else I've brought to NOI. And I've brought 3 different angel food cakes, a frozen peanut butter banana chocolate pie, and more cookies and ice cream than I can name. People came back for thirds. People ask me to bring it again. Actually, it looks like there will be about enough croissants left from the training I'm in now to make it tonight!

What do you do with leftovers? Any creative solutions to prevent wasting food?

1 comment:

Mira said...

Love this! I too have a bag in the freezer for soup stock - and soup is a go-to answer for cleaning out the fridge. Or riff on shepherds pie with meat, veg & starch leftovers. Admittedly, the hens act as pre-compost agents some of the time, and we do compost.