FoCo Joe: DIY Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Wow — where has this term gone? My final fall has come to its final days as I prepare for final papers and final exams. Finally.
This fall was a weird one, friends. The job search was — is — a time-consuming spiral of melancholy, and just when the worst of it was yet to come, the Dartmouth gods and goddesses sent us a week’s worth of mild weather. Who knew mild weather could actually excite me?
As this term comes to a close, I am confronted with one last pile of work — just one more epic of late nights at the library broken up by trips to Late Night Collis. Only one more week of wandering through the floors of Berry like a nomad in search of a workspace that also happens to be near my friends. Sometimes I am confronted with mirages of empty desks, only to see a backpack tucked underneath the chair. Alas, my journey continues.
In spite of all the finals gloom and the surprisingly tolerable weather (dare I say enjoyable??!), FoCo remains a happy oasis of joy in my life. Yet sometimes, in these moments of intellectual exertion, I forget to eat my FoCo meals at appropriate times of the day. Today was one such day, when I walked into FoCo at 2:20 p.m. Yikes. By the time I was ready to make my dessert this week, nearly everything was put away in preparation for the next meal! Regardless, I saunter into FoCo at such a late time of the day, knowing full well I have an article to write. What started as poor circumstances turned into my inspiration for this week’s FoCo Joe – what kinds of desserts are possible in a FoCo with limited resources?
This scenario is in some ways an apocalyptic FoCo. The whole premise of FoCo — and FoCo Joe in general — is that endless combinations of meals can be made in the vast buffet of choices. A deserted FoCo is therefore a contradiction. But I faced it today, as a penultimate challenge before this final push through the fall term, and let me tell you — I made it out more than alive.
I cannot say I am a bread pudding person – in fact I cannot exactly tell you what bread pudding really is. The original premise for this dessert was a do-it-yourself pumpkin cheesecake. I wanted to try combining lightly toasted bread with pumpkin ice cream — that last taste of fall — like FoCo’s own strawberry cheesecake ice cream, but with my own FoCo Joe twist. The final product looked more like bread pudding than cheesecake, according to my food consultants, hence the revised name. Regardless of its identity crisis, this dessert knows how good it is — and is willing to prove it to you if given the chance!
Step 1: Grab a piece of white bread and toast it lightly. Lightly singed toast is best — the bread should have a bit of a bite, but still be soft on the inside. Untoasted bread will get mushy in the ice cream. I also stick by white bread for this dessert, assuming no dietary concerns, because of its softer texture compared to whole grain bread. Of course, any kind of bread will do.
Step 2: Spread some marshmallow fluff onto the bread. Think of the marshmallow as a sort of icing that protects the bread from becoming too soggy. You won’t need too much spread here for the marshmallow powers to do their thing.
Step 3: Sprinkle some crushed M&Ms on top of the bread to add a bit of a crunch to the dessert.
Step 4: Scoop one — really only one is needed here, proportionally speaking – scoop of pumpkin ice cream to place on top of the marshmallow bread.
Step 5: Spread the pumpkin ice cream evenly across bread, as if the dessert was an open-face sandwich.
Step 6: This one is optional, but recommended — rip the open-face sandwich apart and mix it all together in bite-size portions on the plate. Think Coldstone Creamery style — a slightly messier process but a more cohesive and comprehensive bite in the end. Cutting the open-face sandwich with a fork and knife may also work but the bread and pumpkin ice cream integrate better if mixed more thoroughly. Well into the dessert, the bread held up fine (see photo). And my skeptical food consultants were sold on this one, joining in with me on my surprise. I thought this dessert was going to be interesting, but I honestly did not expect it to be so good. I am serious here: I file this one up in my all-time Top 10 creations!!
This “bread pudding” was low-key baller and a high-key send-off for the fall term. Have a great winterim, everyone!!