That reminds me of "all gone pudding," another famous encore. If you are lucky, you will never make it the same way twice. What you need are leftover fruit pies and cake, stale cake by preference, and pound cake as first choice. Stale Danish pastry is great too. Just break everything up into a very well buttered shallow Pyrex baking dish (you know why). Pour a basic custard mix over it to cover—you don't want anything sticking up to burn. Gently and artistically swirl through the mix to just blend the colors and flavors so that there are chunks of stuff. Don't overdo it, it's not supposed to be uniform. Toss in a few lumps of butter here and there as the spirit moves you, and dust with a little cinnamon. You can top it with thinly sliced apples or pears, if you are feeling very artistic. Sprinkle them with sugar to caramelize if they show up through the top. Bake at 325 degrees F until the custard is set. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when it is done. By the way, there are two schools of thought about the custard. Some folks like to use just enough, and have a crusty top, others like an inch or so of custard on top. Take your pick. What you must do, is serve this hot, with plain vanilla ice-cream. Trust me, plain vanilla. Interestingly enough, the same custard mix will allow you to encore leftover rice, noodles or stale bread for pudding. Just add raisins or fruit, and follow this general method.
While we are thinking desserts for Thanksgiving or Christmas it is time to encore the recipes for Fruit Cake and Plum Pudding. The fruitcake recipe is by Amy Handler of AmyCakes, Cambridge Mass, and the plum pudding is by Janice Suder, a former student of mine who lived in New York City when last heard of. Janice, are you there?
There is still time to make them ahead now, so that you can serve them at the family feasts at these holidays.
© 1997, Steve K. Holzinger. All rights reserved.
This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
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Modified October 2007
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