The great muffin parade

If you get up at four in the morning and spend your first cup of coffee reading about recipes (because that’s work) and you know you have a couple of stale muffins sitting around heading for nowhere but the bin, this is what you should do:

Slice them up, butter one side and lay the slices, butter side down, in an oven-proof dish. Now, if they’re fairly bland, you can add whatever you need to bling them up, like grated lemon zest, a good sprinkling of cinnamon, a little nutmeg, or cardamom, perhaps a little vanilla. Follow this with a meagre layer of apple chunks.

Then beat a couple of eggs, add some warm milk and pour this over the muffins and apples. A nice touch is then to throw a little handful of raisins into the mess, and a sprinkling of nuts and sugar.

Now bake the thing (moderately, around 180) for about 45 minutes, or until it’s looking nice and golden and there are some unmistakably warm, cinammony smells in the kitchen.

If you’re waiting for someone to wake up so you can have a second cup of coffee with company, these smells may prove enough to rouse them.

Or not.

Whichever the case, it is a good thing to do. And it’s a delicious breakfast, particularly on a cold and dark winter morning.

(I believe, by the way, that any form of stale, wheaty starch will work well, like day-old croissants, or, well, bread…which of course would make it a bread-and-butter pudding. Which mine wasn’t.)