Cultures around the world have developed tasty strategies to repurpose leftovers and give them new life. Across Asia, day-old rice becomes fried rice, in Italy risotto becomes arancini, and in Ireland, boiled dinners become bubble and squeak. I have even turned leftover 4th of July fare into a hearty Bolognese sauce. When done right, leftovers taste fresh, not stale.
Last night, I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner. When I asked what I could bring, he promptly replied, “Dessert.”
I considered my options – run to the market and pick something up, or figure something out with what’s in my pantry. I spied a stale baguette on the counter and recalled another ingenious use of leftovers – bread pudding.
Ironically, a search for bread pudding will yield recipes that call for brioche or other specialty bread. It seems antithetical to purchase fresh bread to let go stale. But since I was bringing the dessert to a friend’s house, I took a cue for this idea, and jazzed up the pudding to make it seem as an intentional creation and not an afterthought. Chocolate and dried cherries were the perfect antidote.
Shhh… don’t tell Paul.
Chocolate Bread Pudding with Crème Anglaise
A classic bread pudding can easily be made by omitting the chocolate and using raisins instead of dried cherries
3 cups milk
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 cups stale bread, cubed
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup apple sauce
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup chopped chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
1. In a pot, heat milk with salt until small bubbles form around the edges of the pot. Add the cocoa powder and bread and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350. Put butter in a 9” x 13” pyrex dish to melt while oven is preheating.
3. Mix together the eggs and sugars until well combined. Add the vanilla, apple sauce, dried cherries, vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate. Stir in soaked bread.
4. Pour batter into buttery pyrex dish.
5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until set. Let cool.
6. Serve with Crème anglaise.