Best Bet: Bread Pudding

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal

Bread pudding at Lavoro's. Jan. 22 2013 PHOTO BY MICHAEL DONAHUE

Photo by Michael Donahue

Bread pudding at Lavoro's. Jan. 22 2013 PHOTO BY MICHAEL DONAHUE

Recycling is delicious at Lavoro's Italian restaurant. Leftover pizza dough is turned into bread and leftover bread is turned into croutons and bread pudding.

The delicious bread pudding is their specialty.

It all starts with the dough, said Jason Savelli, who works at the restaurant. "A good pizza comes from the dough, not from the ingredients you put on the pizza," said Savelli, whose mother is from Sicily. "The dough is the first thing that meets your tongue, so it's the setting off point for the taste of the pizza."

The pizza, bread, croutons and bread pudding are the creation of Lavoro's owner Mike Working. "Lavoro" means "laborer" in Italian, Working said.

The bread pudding is made from what is left of the original 30-pound batch of dough, which is made five or six times a week. The pudding tastes like something you'd eat at Christmas. It comes with rum sauce, homemade whipped cream with sprinkles of white chocolate in the bread. Working also adds blueberry, peach, apple pie filling or caramel sauce as well as fruits that are in season.

I'm not a big fan of bread pudding or fried pies with too much cinnamon. And Working has his own way of mixing cinnamon in with the rest of the ingredients. Instead of adding it to the cream, eggs, milk and vanilla, Working sprinkles cinnamon on the butter in the baking pan. "Cinnamon is fat soluble, not water soluble," he said. "You have to mix it with something that will absorb it. It combines with the butter and makes a great pan sealer."

Working got the original bread pudding recipe from his daughter, Amy. "I tweaked it," he said.

Employees refer to Working as "Coach" because he coached football for 36 years. When he was fired from coaching the Houston Tiger Cats in the Canadian League, he still had a year left on his contract so he moved to Memphis to help his son, Michael, a Memphis attorney, open a family-style Italian restaurant.

Working ended up staying in Memphis and operating the restaurant, which includes doing a lot of the cooking. "I'm a retired football coach, not a cook. So, I had to learn how to do all this."

Lavoro's is at 5849 Summer; 901-377-2141.

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Comments » 1

mather writes:

You can also find an outstanding bread pudding at Cajun Catfish Company, just a few blocks down Sycamore View Road from Lavoro's.


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