Around this time last year, I featured my recipe for freckled pudding, a rich and satisfying dessert made with odds and ends of cake and bread left over from the Holidays. It was a simple thing, but rather sumptuous – a cakey pudding richly flavored with cocoa. It was just the thing to end meals made up of rehashed Christmas and New Year leftovers.
This year, I pretty much thought that the freckled pudding was not going to make an appearance. Well, that was until a whole banana loaf and a frosted chocolate roll showed up and claimed valuable space in the kitchen fridge. Seeing how the fridge seemed almost dangerously full, I decided to grab the loaf, the roll, the butt end of the pane al cioccolato I made for New Year’s Eve, a rather forlorn oatmeal raisin cookie, and a chocolate fudge cake a colleague gave me for Christmas.
As shown above, I hacked everything into solid chunks and soaked them in a milk-and-cream custard. But instead of using vanilla and almond extracts, I scraped in the seeds from one of the Bourbon vanilla beans I won from last year’s Vanilla Company contest on 80 Breakfasts. Using real vanilla instead of extracts makes quite a difference: the aroma is more fragrant and a subtle but discernible taste of vanilla can be detected over the richness of the chocolate and the banana.
So, if you find yourself with a tad too much cake left in your fridge, a number of sweet breads going stale in the bread-bin, or discover a number of biscuits hiding out in your cookie jar, start chopping ’em up. (You need approximately 500 grams’ worth of chunked-up cake or bread and crushed cookies for this.) And, whatever you do, don’t forget to serve it with ice cream – vanilla, coffee crumble, or – the best pairing, I think – chocolate swirl or double-Dutch.