Photo: crspix, Stacey Ballis

Ice cream for a party always seems like a good idea. Except ice cream requires attention and temperature management, two things that automatically fall by the wayside when you are hosting. If you and your friends are on the couch yelling at the refs for crappy pass-interference calls, no one is heading back to the kitchen to do ice cream management. And what often results is a tub of sad, melted ice cream. It seems so very wasteful. You know you can’t refreeze it, you know you shouldn’t just drink it, and yet, dumping it down the sink is a bit heartbreaking.

Never fear. Because the other item you almost always also have left over from events like these? Hot dog and hamburger buns. In this day of people eschewing gluten for health reasons both real and imagined, and everyone keto-ing and paleo-ing all over themselves, at the end of a party you often find yourself bereft of burgers and dogs, but with a glut of buns.

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But if you have leftover buns and melted ice cream? You are a mere few eggs away from killer bread pudding.

Think about it. Bread pudding is just a custard of cream, eggs, sugar, and flavoring poured over stale or toasted bread and baked. Hamburger and hot dog buns are a great neutral breadstuff and are good at soaking up liquid. Melted ice cream covers the cream, sugar and flavoring, so you can add eggs and have a three-ingredient bread pudding... like magic!

It works with pretty much any flavor ice cream , and any breadstuff (as long as it doesn’t have an onion topping). Even sesame seeds or poppy seeds on your bread just add a bit of crunchy pop. I like the mix-ins from the ice cream in this, but if you prefer a simpler custard, just strain the melted ice cream before adding the eggs. You can even get away with it for breakfast: just call it a French-toast casserole and no one will be the wiser.

This is super simple, but easy to fancy up. Feel free to add chocolate chips or chopped nuts or chunks of fruit. A sprinkle of coarse sugar on top before baking can add nice crunch. Serve plain, or garnish with fruit compote, chocolate or caramel sauce. And yes, it is delicious topped with more ice cream.

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Photo: Stacey Ballis

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Melted Ice Cream Bun Pudding

  • 10 hamburger or hot dog buns, or a mix of both
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 cups melted ice cream, any flavor
  • 6 eggs
  • Pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tear your bread into rough, large chunks and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly toasted and slightly dried out. Let cool on the pan while you mix the custard. Leave the oven on.

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Whisk the melted ice cream with the eggs and salt.

In a large bowl, toss the toasted bread with the melted butter until well coated. Pour over the custard, and mix well.

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Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Pour the bread pudding mixture into the pan, and press down so that the bread is absorbing the custard. Let rest at room temp for 20-30 minutes to absorb (or in the fridge for up to a day).

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the custard is set and the top is golden. Serve hot or warm. Maybe with more ice cream?

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