I’ve been told many times over the years that my approach to cooking is weird. Namely, I view recipes the way the Pirate’s Code is viewed in Pirates of the Caribbean – I think of it more as a set of guidelines. When I’m in the mood to make something new, my method is to look up as many different variations on that recipe I can find, pick and choose the ones I like, and make the rest up. Consequently, I don’t actually have solid recipes so much as basic concepts I re-use and tweak based on what’s in my refrigerator and what I feel like eating that day. I have tried submitting these as recipes with notes like “improvise here!” and “change this for this new form of the same thing!”, but I have been roundly told that that is not how recipes work. Which, as far as I’m concerned, sucks.
One of my favorite bases is something I found online that was called “bread pudding muffins.” The idea was that you took a cupcake liner, filled it with stale bread and half an egg, and baked it. And that’s a cool enough idea, but it’s super boring and clearly demands improvisation. But after two years of using this idea as a base, it has become my favorite thing ever. I eagerly await us having enough stale bread to make this. I’ve tried every variation under the sun. Sometimes I make it in cupcake tins. Sometimes I make it in a pan as a bake. I’ll add veggies, fruits, beans, spices, bacon, or pretty much whatever I can find hiding in my refrigerator. You can do anything with this. The sky is your limit. These two years of bread pudding experimentation have been delicious ones, and I have desperately wanted to write about this, only to realize that “get bread, eggs, and improvise!” did not pass muster as a recipe. And so I held off until I found one variation on it I loved enough to post.
I am proud to announce that I have found that variation.
Julia’s French Toast Pudding
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Suggestions: While this is good at any time, and I did eat it for basically every meal of my day, it’s best for breakfast and it’s best fresh. The bulk of prep time comes from cutting the bread and strawberries, so do that the night before and throw the rest together in the morning.