After going to The French Pastry School, one of the things that I learned was that it would be good to keep a portfolio of the food I’m making. Next to it I’ll be labeling what it was and when I made it. For my portfolio I chose 4 different categories of foods I want to concentrate on: French, Modern American, Mexican, and Italian. Naturally, I began with the French desserts.
Bread and Butter Pudding with Vanilla Sauce
Recipe from “Lenôtre’s Desserts and Pastries”
7 ounces fresh sandwich bread, uncut
Butter for bread
2 cups, (generous, 1/2 1) milk
1 vanilla bean (I used vanilla bean paste)
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup, generous (125 grams) granulated sugar
Remove the crust from bread and slice very thin (set crust aside)
Lightly butter the slices, cut them in half, corner-to-corner so that they are now 2 triangles.
Brown the buttered side of the bread under the broiler for 3 minutes, cover oval baking pan with bread, toasted side up in overlapping pieces.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Boil milk with vanilla bean. Beat the eggs and the egg yolks with the sugar for a few minutes, until mix whitens. Slowly pour hot milk (not boiling) into egg mix while stirring.
Pour the combined mixtures over the bread while pressing down bread that floats with a spoon.
Place the Bread Pudding into a larger dish. Pour boiling water in the larger dish until it reaches half way up the sides of the smaller dish.
Bake 30 minutes, continue to press down bread when it rises to the surface in oven. When baked, allow to cool then place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Make Vanilla Sauce (can be served without).
1 cup (1/4 1) milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Place milk and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot and let the vanilla bean infuse for 10 minutes.
Beat egg yolks and sugar on medium speed until the mixture whitens. While beating, add milk to yolks. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Heat slowly, stirring constantly. When liquid coats spatula, remove the saucepan immediately and place in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Remove the vanilla bean.
Cool mixture in bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. Whip sauce occasionally while cooling.
Once cooled, pour over your Bread and Butter Pudding and return to the refrigerator,
The recipe doesn’t call for it but since we were out of bread I decided to make my own. You can use any homemade sandwich bread recipe you want or you can use store-bought. Homemade takes time but it’s definitely a lot cheaper and tastier than store-bought bread. Here’s a recipe close to what I used.
Because I felt there would be a lot of waste, I found recipes that would use left-0vers from the Bread and Butter Pudding and Vanilla Sauce recipes. Check it out..
With my extra crust and the butt-pieces of my bread I made croutons! All I had to do was: cut the crust into cubes, throw in a bowl with salt, (I used Kosher, but use whatever you have), a little garlic, a little olive oil, 2 tablespoons butter, a some herbs (I used mostly basil. It doesn’t have to be fresh, feel free to use dry herbs.) Throw in the oven for 12-18 minutes at 400F. I swear, they’ll be the best croutons you’ve ever tasted.
Then came the Classic French Meringues which I made with the leftover egg whites. The recipe took next-t0-no-effort and it ended up looking gorgeous, here’s the recipe I used. I just split up the batter and added a little food coloring to each bowl.
Done! You have two desserts, croutons for a salad or soup and fresh bread. Instead of wasting a mountain of bread crust, egg whites and egg yolks we made a vanilla sauce, homemade meringues and croutons… all with things that would have went down the drain or into the garbage. It’s been a good day.