As much as we love our bread here, there are occasions when simply no more of it will fit our freezers, fridges and bread bins. During the Winter, we really only have this issue around Thanksgiving and Christmas, when dinner rolls, stale half-loaves from stuffing, Challah and brioche abound. However, once the weather warms up and the BBQ emerges from it's cover our house is filled with hamburger and sausage buns, stale slices drying out for breadcrumbs, and soft slabs waiting for al fresco sandwich lunches.
Whenever we host a BBQ - which seems to be at least three times a month - Mom goes and buys one of the biggest bags of Kaisers and panini buns I've seen. Of course, we only tend to have three or so guests at a time, which means we then need to find places to stash the 5 or 6 mini-loaf sized buns. Sometimes we can make them fit in our (poorly designed, IMHO) upright freezer, but when we can't, they sit neglected on the counter, slowly curing into rock hard "torpedoes". Since I can't stand to waste food when it can be avoided, I grate a lot of the hard bread into breadcrumbs or toast up croutons. Occasionally though, I need to make something sweet and comforting - and bread pudding fits the bill.
Now I have to admit I was definitely selfish in making this bread pudding recipe - a while back the kind folks at Rigoni di Asiago sent me a few jars of their spreads to try out, and since bread is a perfectly neutral base I figured it would be a perfect foil to allow the flavours to shine. The first jar I cracked was a lovely Seville orange marmalade - I'm not an orange "stuff" lover in general (I prefer the fruit au natural) but this was very fresh tasting and not "gummy" like some marmalades can be. The sub-label for Rigoni di Asiago's fruit spreads, called Fiordifrutta, is sweetened only with apple juice (no white sugar) and set with natural fruit pectin. With no added flavours, aromas or colours, the company processes the spreads at room temperature to preserve the naturally occurring tastes and fragrances of the freshly-picked fruit.
The other jar I knew would be a family favourite. Nocciolata is a chocolate hazelnut spread just like the ubiquitous Nutella, but with no chemicals, no artificial flavors, no GMOs and absolutely zero palm oil. Instead, it contains
cane sugar*, hazelnut paste*, sunflower oil*, skim milk powder*, cocoa powder*, cocoa butter*, sunflower lecithin, vanilla extract* (* = organically farmed)The flavour, according to the Nutella aficionado in the house, is slightly less sweet and nuttier than the "other" guys, and the chocolate is an accenting flavour rather than the dominant one. In other words, this is a HAZELNUT spread with chocolate, not the other way around. This will likely appeal more to the adults in the room, especially if the children have sweet teeth, but it is still delicious in its own right.
Together, the two spreads along with eggs, a multi-nut "mylk" and flaxseed made a perfectly silky custard that soaked into the stale buns and infused each bite with flavour. A sprinkle of chocolate chips on top crowned the achievement and begged to be cut into. By the end of the day not a speck was left, and even the "dessert phobes" at work were sold.
Nocciolata e Fiordifrutta Bread Pudding
2 cups Dream Blends Almond, Cashew & Hazelnut Drink
2 tbsp Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut Spread (Cocoa and Milk)
2 tbsp Fiordifrutta Organic Fruit Spread (Seville Orange)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup sugar
2 large hot dog buns (I used "sausage" style buns)
3 tbsp semisweet chocolate chips
- Heat oven to 300F and grease a large loaf pan.
- Heat the Dream Blends, hazelnut spread, fruit spread and coconut oil in a large bowl, stirring until smooth.
- Add flaxseeds and mix well. Let stand 5 minutes.
- Whisk in the eggs and sugar until well combined.
- Tear or chop the buns into small pieces and add to the custard mixture.
- Stir to combine, then cover and let stand 30 minutes.
- Spoon pudding into the loaf pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
- Bake 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Serve warm or cold.
Total Fat: 7.9 g
Cholesterol: 46.5 mg
Sodium: 153.8 mg
Total Carbs: 26.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.4 g
Protein: 4.7 g