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The Best Bread Pudding I’ve Ever Had

Posted by Roger on Dec 1, 2015

Last week, I taught the "Fall Vegetable Harvest" cooking class at The Chopping Block. I was so impressed with the outcome of one of the recipes that I wanted to recreate it at home right away: Caramelized Butternut Squash, Kale and Gruyere Cheese Bread Pudding.

I will not claim to be a bread pudding critic by any means. I rarely choose it as a dessert, even though I have had some that are outstanding, particularly those accompanied by a whiskey caramel sauce. However, this recipe is a savory bread pudding and would most likely be the biggest highlight to your holiday dinner table side-dish assortment. As a note, I would use brioche bread for the filling; it is fantastic for this recipe. If not available, Challah bread makes an excellent choice as well. You can even cut and freeze the bread in advance, so that it's ready to go whenever you want. I am sure you will be as amazed with how delicious this recipe is! At this time of year, all of these great fall flavors and smells will fill the house and warm up your dining room table.

Before beginning to make this recipe, prepare all of the ingredients you will use so you do not have to stop in the middle to shred cheese or mince garlic, etc. We call this step “mise en place” which is a French culinary term meaning “to put in place.”

bread pudding mise en place

Caramelized Butternut Squash, Kale and Gruyere Cheese Bread Pudding

Makes approximately 6-8 servings as a side dish:

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

  • 2 cups butternut squash, cut to medium dice

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • ¼ teaspoon red chile flakes

  • 4 cups kale, torn into small pieces

  • ½ cup white wine

  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a ceramic baking dish or casserole dish and set aside.

2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter. Saute the squash until it is caramelized and softened. NOTE: A key flavor component of this dish is the sweetness of the squash. Make sure to get it nicely browned before adding the shallots and garlic.

butternut squash

3. Reduce pan heat to medium-low, add shallots, chile flakes and garlic. Stir one minute. Add kale and cook until wilted. Add white wine and reduce until almost dry. Season to taste and set aside.

 Step Two:
  • 4 cups bead, diced in large cubes and slightly dried out

  • 1 ½ cups milk

  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

  • 3 eggs, beaten

  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, rough chopped

  • Fresh grated nutmeg to taste

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 cups Gruyere or Emmenthaler cheese, grated (I feel the Gruyere Cheese is another key flavor component in this dish. Try your best to find it for this recipe!)

1. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Mix eggs, yolks, cream, milk, nutmeg, thyme, salt and pepper together in a bowl and pour the mixture over the bread. Mix together well.

2. Fold in the veggies from the saute pan and mix together.

3. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle in most of the cheese. Add the rest of the bread mixture to the baking dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Let this mix set for about 20 minutes before baking.

cheese bread pudding4. Bake at 350F until golden brown on top, approximately 45 minutes.

5. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

6. Enjoy!

bread pudding finishedYou can also bake this recipe in small, oven-safe ramekins for a more individual style portion. Cooking time will be reduced by about half.

ramekinsIf you are looking for an excuse to get a new casserole dish or ramekins, this recipe warrants it. Timing couldn’t be better, as The Chopping Block has a fantastic selection of quality bakeware that you can use again and again over this holiday season.



Topics: butternut squash, holiday, bread pudding, Recipes

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