Give Thanks for Leftovers

The dust has settled. Families are back in their respective homes. I’m slowly remembering what work needs to be done in the coming week. And I’m officially sick of turkey.

Post-Thanksgiving days revolve as much around food as the holiday itself does. Why did we make so much? Can we freeze this? How are we going to eat all of this stuff? All are questions I’ve had over the last few days. Once it’s all cooked, we hit the point of no return — it’s time to own up and not let anything go to waste.

Matt (aka: my brobro) works for a fantastic artisanal bakery that on only rare and special occasions allows him access to a Chocolate Sour Cherry Round—a specialty holiday bread so rich and decadent that it easily confuses my taste buds for cake but makes a much more acceptable breakfast than the confection (toasted, dry and with coffee).

When I found one of the coveted chocolatey boules went stale after one too many days of hearing, oh we’re saving that for so-and-so, I had to act. No perfectly good holiday food would meet the Hefty Man on my watch.

It was bread pudding time.

I’d seen chefs I worked with whip batches of it together after someone forgot to wrap and put bread deliveries away. Just because we couldn’t serve the bread for dipping, didn’t mean it was trash. Commonly known as “poor man’s pudding,” bread pudding cites its origins back as far as the 11th century and was made by frugal cooks looking for ways to use every scrap of food including bread that past its prime. By adding a little milk, sugar, eggs and some spices any leavened loaf can be saved. Recipes will vary along with the type of bread used, but the comfort food definitely spans cookbooks around the globe.

Crisis averted, folks!

And of course…to pay homage to our older brother who couldn’t be home for the holiday because he’s out battling pirates and exploring the world with periscopes, we added some in some Sailor Jerry for Sailor Hughie. What’s a little chocolate and cherries without a little rum. 

The SJ worked particularly well because it’s smooth and doesn’t carry the overly boozey baggage that I found with some other spiced rum (that I bought 3 years ago on an island somewhere…) that threatened to take over the flavor party. And let’s be honest…who doesn’t love that label. The intense vanilla and toffee flavors in the rum added a subtle sweetness and tickled the best notes of the luscious chocolate—leaving my head spinning and my stomach ready to burst. You’re welcome and I’m sorry…

Sailor Jerry Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding

  • 1 La Brea Bakery “Chocolate Sour Cherry Round”, stale
  • 2 ½ C milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/3 C Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 T unsalted butter, melted

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Cut bread into 1” cubes, place in a large mixing bowl and pour milk over bread. Allow the bread to soak for about 10 minutes until all of the milk is absorbed. In separate smaller bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, rum, and cinnamon. Gently stir into the bread mixture.

Pour butter into the bottom of a 9” x 9” inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour in the bread mix and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start to pull away from the edge of the pan and the top gets crispy. Serve warm—with vanilla ice cream if you’re a glutton for punishment.

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