I’ve wasted a lot of food in my lifetime.
As a kid, I would randomly open our refrigerator door, take out an egg, toss it at my little brother and yell, “Catch!!!” He sucks at catching. Good times.
There was that time in college where I was dared to drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour (yes, I was THAT guy). I was able to drink the milk, but let’s just say it wasn’t in me for very long.
There were also a few half glasses of beer that I’ve had to leave behind at the bar. Mind you, I’ve never left a beer behind that I didn’t want to, or couldn’t, finish. But there just always seems to be that one person in your group who just can’t let a man finish his beer at his own pace and has to leave the bar right that second. I must befriend more patient designated drivers, or live within stumbling distance to a decent watering hole.
And from the time I was able to ingest solid foods until right this second, I’ve probably thrown away a metric ton of rice—much to my mother’s chagrin. Even though my mom now lives a couple of hours away from me, I’m sure that whenever I scrape the uneaten rice off of my plate and into the trashcan she can feel it in her soul. She then turns to my father and says, “I felt a great disturbance in the Force… as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.” At least that’s how I picture it.
Anyways, all of this wastefulness was weighing on my mind when I was about to toss some stale Pan de Sal into the trash. But then I didn’t want my mother to randomly keel over from another Force disturbance (or as she would say, Porce disstuurrrbance). So I decided to hold onto the Pan de Sal and put it to further use in a bread pudding. You read that right. Bread pudding.
Pan de Sal is a traditional Filipino bread roll that, despite its name, is not salty at all. You can find Pan de Sal at the Asian grocery store, your neighborhood Goldilocks, or any other Filipino bakery.
Pan de sal can be eaten anyway and any time you want, but my family usually eats it warm at breakfast time with a little butter inside or even some jelly. And like any kind of bread, Pan de Sal can get stale if it isn’t eaten after a few days. But there is no need to throw out your stale Pan de Sal. Just cube it up and use it in your favorite bread pudding recipe.
There are a million and one recipes for bread pudding. But the recipe I
stole borrowed the most from was Elise's Bread Pudding Recipe. Of course, I made a few changes here and there. I have to say, I was pleased as pudding (HA!) with the results as my creation turned out to be creamy and custardy but not too sweet.
The recipe I concocted also makes use of rum-soaked dried mangoes in place of the raisins that are usually found in a traditional bread pudding (I hate raisins). I just took some kitchen shears to the dried mango strips and cut them into little chunks before soaking them in rum overnight. If you can find them, use unsulfured dried mangoes. And for an extra Pinoy touch, you can use Tanduay Rum for the soaking, but any rum will do.
Oh, and one last thing. I used a vanilla bean in my recipe and in keeping with the “waste not want not” theme of this here post, I didn’t throw away the bean after I scraped the “seeds” out and soaked them in cream. I just rinsed the used bean halves off, dried them on some paper towels, and stuck them in a small canister of sugar. After a few days, the pods infuse the sugar with awesome vanilla-ness. I usually use the vanilla sugar in my coffee, but it can be used in any recipe calling for regular sugar.
What’s up with it, Vanilla face?
Anyhoo, here is the recipe for my bread pudding. It's very easy to make and will infuse your crib with an oh so glorious aroma. It's best served right out of the oven, but it's also damn good the next day after a spin in the microwave.
Mango and Pan de Sal Bread Pudding
1 cup dried mango slices, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup dark rum
8 Pan de Sal rolls, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8-9 cups)
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups whole milk
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more to taste
In a small bowl, combine the dried mango pieces and rum. Cover and let sit overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and place Pan de Sal in the pan. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream with 1 cup of the milk. Using a paring knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream and milk mixture and add the bean pod as well. Stir to combine. Heat until the mixture just begins to bubble, then remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.
After the vanilla mixture has steeped for 30 minutes, fish out the split vanilla bean. Rinse and dry the vanilla bean and save for another use.
In a large bowl, combine the cream, milk, and vanilla mixture with the remaining 2 cups of milk, the eggs, sugar, nutmeg, and the mangoes and rum. Whisk well to combine. Pour the liquid mixture into the baking pan with the cubed Pan de Sal, making sure the mango pieces are evenly distributed. Let this sit for 30 minutes, pressing down on the bread every few minutes.
Place the baking pan into the oven and let bake for 45-60 minutes. The mixture will puff a bit and the edges will brown when the pudding is done. Serve immediately with a dusting of powdered sugar if that's how you roll.
Stay tuned next week for a special Thanksgiving post that will be “stuffed” with more Pan de Sal. Stuffed? Hmmmmm…