It irks me how, at the end of the Holiday Season, a lot of people simply toss out the remnants of any cakes, biscuits, and other desserts sent to them, saying that they’re stale or that the family has grown sick and tired of eating the stuff.
In these dreary, recession-riddled times when everything seems to cost an arm and a leg, such a wasteful act is practically a crime against one’s family! That said, I suggest that you take a cue from thrifty French housewives and whip up a lovely pudding made from all those cake remnants.
This particular recipe takes a cue from a recipe I found in the Desserts volume of Time-Life’s series The Good Cook. It was the creation of a matronly French restaurateur and was pretty much meant to use up leftover bread, cakes, biscuits, and ice cream. My version is pretty much a mash-up of the French original with the custard base for Nigella Lawson‘s pain au chocolat pudding from How to Be a Domestic Goddess.
I gave my version the name freckled pudding owing to its speckled appearance – the result of combining stale French bread (the heels of a baguette and a loaf of pain complet left in the fridge), three kinds of chocolate cake, and some banana muffins. It’s not the prettiest dessert, but it’s absolutely delicious when served warm after a good dinner.
- approximately 500 grams assorted stale bread, cake, and cookies
- 500 mL milk
- 250 mL cream or melted ice cream
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 eggs
Warm up the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat till just simmering; remove from heat. Whisk together the eggs, flavoring extracts, and sugar till foamy. Pour in the warmed milk-cream mixture and whisk till well-incorporated into a thinnish custard.
Chop up the assorted bread and cakes and place in a large mixing bowl. Pour the custard over the chopped bread and cake; give it a bit of a stir and leave to soak for 10 – 20 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees / Gas Mark 3. Butter a large, round baking dish and pour in the custard-cake mixture. Bake 45 – 50 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes and serve warm. Note that this pudding has a much softer, creamier texture than more conventional bread puddings.