Air Fryer Lost and Found Breakfast Bread Pudding
The French call an egg, milk, and bread mixture that gets a quick fry "pain perdu," lost bread, but we typically call it "French toast." A fancier, more elegant dessert version that includes the same basic ingredients--eggs, milk, and bread--plus fat, sugar, fruits, and spices, appears in many cultures as bread pudding. Different cultures use their own favorite breads, sweeteners, and fats, but the common theme seems to use up what's available. The recipe I'm offering today, like pain perdu, makes use of "on hand" breads and other ingredients but is baked in ramekins in the air fryer rather than pan-fried or oven baked. The recipe truly is "lost and found" in that I use whatever stale breads I have on hand--a couple of muffins past their prime, a cinnamon bun that I found shoved in the back of the refrigerator, the last scone that no one ate...you get the idea. Because I use mostly sweet breads in the mixture and because the bread pudding is, after all, a breakfast pudding, I skimp on sugar to prevent the dish becoming too sweet. It includes plenty of eggs and milk for protein as well as bread. In this particular pudding, I include chocolate almond milk, which is lighter and lower in calories than regular milk. Bananas add extra sweetness, further reducing the need for a lot of additional sugar, and a few walnuts scattered on top of the puddings provide crunch. The little breakfast puddings in their ramekins cook up quickly in the air fryer and come out puffy, light, and fragrant. Try them warm with a dollop of vanilla yogurt. They make a special breakfast on a cold morning and are a great way to use up those extra muffins and sweet breads that you might otherwise throw out or give to the birds. Of course, the birds may not be thrilled about your "found" breakfast bread pudding....
Lost and Found Breakfast Bread Pudding -- Makes 8 Ramekins
2 cups of chocolate almond milk
1 cup of low-fat milk
4 cups of crumbled muffins, cinnamon rolls, scones, bread, etc.
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, plus additional for dusting
2 bananas, sliced (speckled, past their prime bananas are just fine)
1/3-1/2 cup of chopped or broken walnuts (optional)
Coat 8 ramekins well with non-stick cooking spray.* In a large bowl, combine the milks and whisk in the eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon until well combined. Stir in the crumbled breads and let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate it overnight. When you're ready to bake the bread puddings, preheat the air fryer for a few minutes at 320 degrees. Stir the bread pudding mixture well and then stir in the bananas. Pour or spoon the mixture into the ramekins and dust the top of the batter in each ramekin with cinnamon. Divide the walnuts, if you're using them, among the ramekins, sprinkling the walnuts on the top of the cinnamon-dusted batter. Bake the bread puddings in batches in the air fryer for 10-15 minutes or until crusty on top and a pick inserted in the center of a pudding comes out with no wet batter attached to it. Let the bread puddings cool for 3-5 minutes before serving them.
* Note: If you don't have ramekins, use two 6-inch round pans coated with non-stick cooking spray and divide the batter between the two pans. Or use 4-inch square pans. Bake each pan, separately, for 15-20 minutes.