Back in the day, when responsible cooks never, ever wasted food, some of our most beloved comfort foods were invented out of the most unlikely leftovers. This is what sausage is, and hash, paella, Tuscan bread salads, hot dishes and casseroles. My mother used to clean out her refrigerator every Friday and make a stew out of whatever she found. That stew often contained something very odd, but it was always delicious. Her mother taught her to use leftovers that way, and her mother taught her.
No matter what your ethnicity, your mother (or father) or grandma had some delightful dish in her arsenal that was made out of scraps and dabs and dibs. Bread pudding is a perfect example. I have a regular monthly lunch date with a couple of friends, and part of our ritual is to go to some restaurant that serves bread pudding for dessert. At the end of the meal, we buy one serving to share and spend several lovely minutes comparing the current pudding to all the others that have gone before.
Last week for Cinco de Mayo I was served a fantastic Mexican version of bread pudding that I hereby share with you Dear Readers. Use it the next time you find yourself with extra flour tortillas. Or what the heck--just go out and buy some some tortillas especially to make this dish. It’s worth it.
Chocolate and Cinnamon Tortilla Pudding
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
10 eight inch soft flour tortillas
1 cup diced pineapple, fresh or canned, well drained
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
2 cups milk
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts and begins to bubble. Pour the syrup into a 9-inch square glass baking dish and tilt the pan to evenly coat the bottom and sides.
Tear 5 tortillas into bite-size pieces and cover the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle pineapple and 1/3 cup chocolate chips evenly over the top. Tear the remaining 5 tortillas an place evenly in baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup of chocolate chips.
Whisk the eggs, milk, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and pour over the layered tortillas. Cover the surface with plastic wrap, and press down lightly to distribute the egg mixture over the tortillas. Set aside 30 minutes to allow the egg mixture to soak into the tortillas.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake 55 minutes or until pudding is firm. Cool for 15 minutes and serve warm with whipped cream. You can replace the chocolate chips with butterscotch chips for a Dulche de Leche version of tortilla pudding.