My kids have been after me for a while to make bread pudding. I can barely remember where they had it first, but my youngest, especially, was wowed. Even my husband, a bread-pudding skeptic, came around. Breakfast Bread Pudding seemed like the perfect way to seal the deal since he loves a big breakfast more than even chicken fried steak (don’t get me started).
It also was a great excuse to dive appetite first into Cheryl and Griffith Day‘s latest compendium of home-baked goodness. The owners of Savannah’s beloved Back in the Day Bakery wowed the baking inclined with their first (adorable) book; and their second doesn’t disappoint. There’s even more of their (adorable) charm and dessert deliciousness here. But there are also some DIY projects (marshmallow chandelier, anyone?), lots of good information for novices and experienced bakers alike, and a bunch of savory recipes from “Griff” the bread master. There’s even a video trailer for the book. I skipped right to the pictures, and within minutes of opening the book, my stomach was growling.
Strawberry Buttermilk Cake…Cranberry Biscones (a Back in the Day signature) with Orange Zest Glaze…Eggnog French Toast…I’m thinking I might have to bake through the entire book. Don’t worry, no lofty ambitions here. I get that “Fran & Cheryl & Griffith” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Julie & Julia. Still, a girl can bake, can’t she?
This savory bread pudding reminds Griff of the Minnesota hot dishes that he grew up eating. It’s a simple do-ahead recipe I make for brunch, but with the bacon, mushrooms, and Fontina, it’s hearty enough for lunch or dinner too. To make a complete meal, serve the bread pudding with a small salad and some fresh fruit.
–Cheryl Day and Griffith Day
Artisan Books, Copyright © 2105
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ pound portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ pound applewood-smoked bacon, cut into one-inch pieces
- 1 pound Fontina cheese, shredded
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage (see Note)
- 6 large eggs
- 2½ cups half-and-half
- 1 pound ciabatta (day-old is best), cut into 1-inch cubes
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
- In a large heavy skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and onion and sauté until the liquid the mushrooms release has reduced and the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute; stir to combine. Transfer to a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In the same skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp and browned, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the bowl of onions and mushrooms; reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add the Fontina, Parmigiano-Reggiano, red pepper flakes, and rubbed sage and stir to combine.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the half-and-half and the reserved bacon fat and whisk until combined.
- Spread half of the bread in the prepared baking dish. Spread half of the onion-mushroom mixture evenly over the bread. Top with the remaining bread and another layer of the remaining onion-mushroom mixture. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top. Using the back of a spoon, press the bread into the liquid, making sure all the liquid is absorbed. Let sit for 15 minutes before baking. (The bread pudding can be covered with plastic wrap, refrigerated, and baked the next day.)
- Bake the bread pudding for 40 to 50 minutes, until evenly browned on top. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.