I heard on the radio the other day that British people throw away more bread than any other food! This completely flummoxed me. Why throw away Bread? I can honestly say, that I NEVER throw away bread. Bread freezes better than anything else, you can take it out of the freezer, defrost and put back into the freezer without any harm coming to you or to it. Actually if using for toast,( himself often has toast) my lovely toaster has a little knob on it which means frozen, press that and the toast cooks just a little longer to compensate for the fact that the bread is frozen.
Living where I do, there are shops within a stones throw, that are open from 6 am to 11pm, so why do I freeze my bread? Well, firstly, I have no idea when or where himself wants to have toast or a sandwich and secondly, I am far too lazy to have to go to the grocery store just for bread ( another food that freezes well is Milk, so when you go away for a weekend, or a couple of weeks, put your milk into the freezer, ready for your return).
Consequently I always have bread. At the moment it is Sourdough, which even I like (especially with smushed avocado). However, even if you think that the bread in your freezer is getting a tad old, looking a bit dry, you can use it in other ways. Make it in to fresh bread crumbs, dry it out in the oven and then blitz it in a food processor, or put it into a bag and bash it with a rolling-pin.
My favourite way of using up old bread and this is especially good with old baguettes (they go stale very quickly ) is to make Bread Pudding. This is the New Orleans Bread Pudding and Not the English Bread and Butter pudding.. Himself has a sweet tooth and often sneaks a nibble of a dessert when I have gone off upstairs to bed. I don’t often make deserts but when I do, it is usually something that I can then freeze and to which he can help himself.
This week I have been playing in the kitchen and have made the above mentioned Bread Pudding and Bakewell Tart.
So let us start with the Bakewell tart, history says it comes from Bakewell In Derbyshire, and there is a similar one from Gloucestershire.
You will need a quantity of Short pastry ( about 8 oz) and there is nothing wrong with using ready-made. Me? being a bit odd always make my own. On top of the pastry you will need
- 4 tbsp of Jam preferably raspberry
- 2 eggs
- zest of one lemon
- 3oz Butter
- 3oz castor sugar
- 6oz ground almonds
- 4 Tabs plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Flaked almonds to decorate ( optional)
- Icing sugar for dusting
- Pre heat the oven to 190C
- Grease a 10 inch tart tin
- Roll out the pastry and line the tin, prick the pastry with a fork
- Cream together the butter and sugar ( can do this in a food processor) add the eggs and the lemon zest mix in the flour and the baking powder along with the ground almonds
- cover the pastry with a layer of raspberry jam and then add the Bakewell mixture on top.
- Sprinkle with flaked almonds if using.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until brown.
- Cool and sprinkle with icing sugar when serving. can be served with Creme fraiche.
And onto Bread Pudding, as I said this version is from New Orleans. It is served in many of the world-famous restaurants of that party city.
To make this calorific dessert you will need
- 500 grams of any bread, baguette, brown bread, croissants, brioche or a mixture of any of them
- 1 litre of milk
- 3 eggs
- 2 apples, peeled and chopped
- 4 oz sugar ( 120 Grms)
- about 4oz raisins or sultanas
- 4 oz chopped nuts
- Butter or spray for greasing
- Preheat oven to 190 C, Grease a loaf pan. Using a food processor, with the motor running drop in the bread, large bits at a time, to make fine breadcrumbs
- Put the breadcrumbs into a large mixing bowl
- mix the eggs and milk together and pour over the bread crumbs, add the sugar, nuts, apple and raisins. Mix well together, using your hands works very well.
- Pour into the greased loaf pan and bake for about 50 mins until golden brown.
- Leave to cool
Then the best part is the whisky sauce:-
- 4oz unsalted butter
- 4 oz sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup whiskey
Melt the butter and the sugar together, pour into the food processor and add with the motor running, the egg along with the whiskey.
To serve the bread pudding, cut into slices and pour over some of the whiskey sauce.
This freezes very well so I usually make extra sauce. Then, I slice the pudding and lay on a baking tray, pour over the sauce, and freeze. When it is frozen, the sauce will be tacky, I remove and wrap individually in cling film and package and put back into the freezer. So when Himself fancies something sweet, ( and he does have a sweet tooth) it is there waiting for him. He has been known to eat it frozen!!
In the USA there is a spray to grease pans or even frying pans, it is called PAM, but it is not available in the UK, it even gives chocolate icing a sheen when used sparingly. However when I visited the kitchen of the Club Med sail boat, in the middle of the Atlantic, I was surprised to see the french equivalent, and guess what? it is available on Amazon !!!