A bunch of leftover-sliced baguette, a bit of ricotta and a bowl of quince turned into this magic yesterday. The idea for this cook-with-what-you-have Ofenschlupfer (say that five-times in a row, quickly:) came to me as I was biking home from a bi-monthly breakfast I cook, with said leftover baguette in tow. Ofenschlupfer is a German variation of bread pudding and I grew up eating it in the fall made with apples. But quince! Quince, with all their tart, fragrant, wonder take this to another level. I just had a bowl of it for lunch. I could not help myself!
I tossed this together without referencing any Ofenschlupfer recipes but the basic combination of egg, milk, sugar, spices, bread, and fruit is pretty forgiving and you could just as easily dice stale bread instead of keeping the slices whole, substitute apples and or pears (bosc or other variety that will holds its shape when cooked) and change up the spices. But do be on the look-out for quince!
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Quince Ricotta Ofenschlupfer (Bread Pudding)
For the quince:
4 medium quince, cored and peeled and cut into chunks (quince are very hard and this takes a bit of doing but it’s worth it, I promise)
2 strips of lemon peel (use a vegetable peeler)
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
For the custard:
3 large eggs
1 cup (whole) milk
2/3 cup ricotta (that’s what I had leftover–you could add up to 1 cup for a slightly richer version)
Zest of half a lemon (or whatever you didn’t use for the quince), finely grated
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Couple pinches salt
8 ounces sliced bread/baguette (nothing too whole wheat or dense here)
Butter to grease the pan
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons turbinado (or regular granulated) sugar
Preheat oven to 350
Put the quince, strips of lemon peel, 1/3 cup sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook gently, covered, for about 7-10 minutes until the quince are just tender but still holding their shape. The time may vary a bit depending on your quince but check often since some turn to mush quickly.
In a medium bowl whisk the eggs with the milk, ricotta, grated lemon zest, spices, sugar and salt.
Generously butter an 8 x 13 or comparable baking dish. Put a single layer of bread in the dish. Pour half the custard over the bread and top it with half the quince. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, finishing with quince and drizzle any liquid from the quince over the top. Gently press down on the whole thing to make sure the bread is soaked. Dot top with butter and sprinkle evenly with the sugar. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 30-40 minutes, but check a bit earlier, until the custard is almost set. Remove foil and bake until set, finishing under the broiler for a little more browning. Serve hot or warm for dessert or breakfast, lunch or dinner!