Waste Not, Want Not

Wow, I’ve been so bad at updating this thing. Here’s the last from 2010 and we can move on to 2011 posts! There’s a few backlogged but I can’t be stuffed anymore. New slate, new beginnings etc!

So the issue we faced after all the feasts on Christmas Eve and Christmas All-Day-Binge-Fest (I swear, I did not stop eating from noon till past midnight!) was the leftovers. We had a few good meals made of leftovers but I decided to help with using up a loaf of bread and 2kg of peaches. Mostly because I knew if I didn’t, Nick would just chuck them in the bin without blinking. The super Chinese aunty in me would not allow for such terrible wastage!

Bread & Butter Pudding

Bread & Butter Pudding

It was pretty obvious to me that a loaf of bread meant Bread & Butter Pudding. It’s one of my throwaway recipes that is good for when you’re lazy and doesn’t necessitate a trip to the supermarket.

Bread & Butter Pudding
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Serves 6

1 loaf of white bread, crusts removed and sliced in two
2 Tbsp cognac
1/2 cup raisins
300 ml cream
300 ml milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
60 gm soft butter, plus extra for greasing
Demerara sugar to finish
Optional: Vanilla ice cream to serve

1. Combine raisins and cognac in a bowl and leave for raisins to soak up most of the liquor.

2. Combine eggs, cream, milk, caster sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon in a deep bowl. Whisk vigorously to combine.

3. Spread both sides of bread with butter. Grease an ovenproof dish with butter. Fit bread slices into the dish in one even layer, then top with the raisins. Repeat twice more, or until you run out of bread. Pour the cream mixture evenly over the bread slices and leave to stand until most of the mixture has been absorbed by the bread.

4. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Sprinkle demerara sugar over the top of the dish and bake until golden and firm, approximately 30 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I love mine served piping hot, fresh from the oven. The beauty of this simple dessert is in the contrast. The hot with the cold, the crunch of the bread with the velvety texture of the ice cream, the doughy bread with the sweet custard and that little bit of liquor to shock your tastebuds. Simplicity is so underrated.

For the 2kg of peaches, I put my “minions” to work, as I called them that day. Mostly because peeling 2kg of peaches was not an easy task and I’m not known for my patience. I happily relegated the task to my kind friends who were eager to help. Despite numerous boil-and-shock trips between the pot and bowl of ice water, the skins on the peaches would hardly budge! Then we had to slice them and GAH there must be an easier way to handle peaches.

Honey Caramel Peach Pie

Honey Caramel Peach Pie

Caramel Peach Pie
Adapted from Gourmet

All-Butter Pastry Dough
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
250g butter, cut into cubes
1/3 cup plus 1-4 Tbsp ice water

1. Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender just until most of mixture resembles coarse meal.

2. Drizzle 1/3 cup ice water over mixture and gently stir with a fork until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful of dough: if it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, stirring until just incorporated, then test again. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.

3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and with the hell of your hand smear the dough twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather the dough together and press into a ball. Divide in half and form 2 disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least an hour.

2 kg ripe peaches
2 Tbsp cornflour
1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp unsalted butter

1. Cut an X in the bottom of each peach, then blanch peaches in batches in boiling water for 15 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop cooking. Peel peaches and cut into 1-inch thick wedges

2. Toss peaches well with cornflour, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

3. Bring 1/2 cup sugar, honey and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Boil without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so caramel colours evenly, until a dark amber.

4. Remove from heat and add butter, swirling pan until butter is melted. Pour over fruit and toss.

5. Preheat oven to 220˚C. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 13″ round on a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 9″ pie plate. Trim excess dough, leaving a /2″ overhang. Chill shell pin.

6. Roll out remaining piece of dough into an 11″ round on a lightly floured surface.

7. Transfer the peach filling to the pie shell, mounding it. Cover pie with the second pastry round. Press edges together, then crimp decoratively. Brush top with milk, then sprinkle remaining Tbsp of sugar. Cut 3 steam vents on the top with a paring knife or scissors.

8. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 190˚C and continue to bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes more. Cool pie to room temperature, or serve warm if you’re impatient (like me).

My pie was decidedly “rustic looking” because I am absolutely horrible at sealing pies but it still tasted good which was all that mattered to me.

It was served with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream and received rave reviews from my friends.

Honey Caramel Filling

It’s actually pretty fun to have so much leftovers that you can host another party just to finish all the food up. Christmas for us was just a never-ending feast, as it rightfully should be.

(Note: The beautiful pictures were taken by Dennis with Nick’s fancypants Nikon D90 camera. These pictures alone have convinced me that I’m in dire need of a DSLR – disregarding the fact that Dennis has a beautiful eye for composition!)