One of the great joys in running a food blog—if you run the right kind of food blog—is cruising old book stores looking for trashy cookbooks.
For decades, cookbooks in America have served as a strange corporate ministry, where institutions like multinational corporations, local dairy councils, and insurance companies could sublimate their brands by way of ill-informed culinary instruction. I always buy these books when I find them. The good recipes are hidden behind unappetizing (and sometimes offensive) names, and every bad recipe is its own tale of defeat, ignorance, and content-by-committee.
Hot Dogs, Baseball, Apple Pie & Other Great American Snacks excites the part of me that feels a sympathy bordering on kinship with Guy Fieri. Maybe it’s all the ironic gay erotica; I just can’t bring myself to hate him.
On first pass, I filled this book with about 25 or so notes; we will become very acquainted with the joys and sorrows of this tome of American alchemy.
This recipe, labeled Hot Dog Pudding, is found in a section labeled Happy Endings. I like to imagine this book as a choose your own adventure; if your breakfast or lunch consisted of the tuna-stuffed eggs or a dozen eggs baked in a casserole dish with salsa and two pounds of cheese, “hot dog pudding” could be a happy ending in the way that I hate touching strangers but loved the hand-shaky part of Catholic Mass because it meant it was over.
OKAY. ENOUGH BANTER. ONTO THE RECIPE.
You’re gonna need:
4 hot dog buns.
6 eggs, beaten.
2 cups of sugar.
1/2 cup of melted butter.
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
2 1/2 cups of milk.
A mixing bowl.
A baking dish.
And now in writing:
1 )Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2) Place the hot dogs in the baking dish. You’ll see mine’s more of a bread pan; since it’s deeper, this will affect cooking time. But understanding how/why you’ll need to adjust cooking times with nondescript recipes. The original recipe for this consists of two lines of instructions and takes up less than 1/4 of a page.
3) In your bowl, beat your eggs and combine them with the sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk. I’ve provided a slideshow of adding each ingredient for thematic consistency, and to show how the recipe gives it. I would recommend mixing the beaten eggs with the sugar melted butter, and vanilla before you add the milk. Unless you’ve had your milk sitting out from the beginning (and even if you did, this recipe takes like half a minute to set up), it will be cold enough to make your sugar lump together when you’re mixing, and if you’re mixing by hand, this could be cause for frustration.
4) Mix it all nice and creamy, and then just drown those hot dog buns. Distribute it evenly. Shake it about a bit to make sure you saturate those buns.
5) Bake for 20 minutes, or until set. Because of the depth of my pan, I had to do 45-50 minutes. In this case, “set” means the top is nice and golden brown, the sides are solid, it’s not molten liquid in the middle, and it doesn’t bleed if you put a knife in it.
Isn’t that beautiful? All crusty and glazed and golden. It almost looks like an Entenmann’s cake. You almost can’t tell it started out as a bag of 99 cent hot dog buns.
While it’s still hot (and just a little melty in the middle) it’s like eating a cake made of french toast. I like my french toast soggy and mushy in the middle. I topped it with maple syrup, powdered sugar, and garnished with a peach slices, which came from a regular CSA box I get of produce that isn’t able to be sold in supermarkets. And the maple syrup is a store brand—none of this is organic or top shelf or “choice cut”. A little exaggeration and ritual goes a long way.
It was fucking delicious. It was firm and held it shape when cut, but became melty and mushy in my mouth. I was, at first, glad I had a fever and had to eat this all by myself, but it ended up being too dense and too rich, even without the maple syrup, for me to finish on my own. If you baked this in a normal baking dish, you probably won’t have this problem. You’ll still have to explain to house guests that the decadent bread pudding you’re all eating is actually hot dog buns soaked in egg sauce. Break it to them gently.
You could take a slice, put ham and swiss on it, and serve it like an open-faced Croque-Monsieur! Or put in tupperware, reheat with a side of bacon and kablamalam: you’ve got a weird futuristic take on a diner breakfast! If you want to let the hot dog buns die as they lived, or I guess die as they aspired to live, you could nestle a sausage inside each bun and pour batter over it all to give yourself a breakfast-appropriate toad in the hole!
Overall, A+. Would make again.