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Ham and Gruyère Bread Pudding From 'One Good Dish'

Ham and Gruyère Bread Pudding From 'One Good Dish'

[Photograph: Gentl & Hyers]

David Tanis loves good bread. In fact, he devotes an entire chapter to it in his new cookbook, One Good Dish. And while there are a few recipes calling for a fresh loaf, he finds most of his creativity in using older, staler loaves. This fact may sound strange, but I find it incredibly useful. I often have an "aged" end or two of bread that I bought with the good intentions of demolishing every slice in a single day, but eventually succumbed to the reality of an unpredictable diet. Take this ham and Gruyère bread pudding. It's a quick, easy recipe that makes use of some of the most easily staled bread (a baguette), transforming it from a doorstop to a creamy, rich, custardy meal. Cubes of smoked ham and two layers of melty Gruyère don't hurt either.

Why I picked this recipe: I often have stale bread around the house; why not turn it into a casserole of comfort?

What worked: Tanis's the ham, cheese, and butter bread pudding is like the demure French ham sandwich's loud, boisterous cousin—in a good way.

What didn't: I would have actually preferred a little less cheese (more like 4 ounces). I thought its presence slightly overwhelmed the rest of the dish.

Suggested tweaks: Tanis suggests adding a handful of steamed spinach or chard to the custard mix and/or sprinkling on a few different minced herbs with the scallions.

Reprinted with permission from One Good Dish: The Pleasures of a Simple Meal by David Tanis. Copyright 2013. Published by Artisan Books. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

Ham and Gruyère Bread Pudding From 'One Good Dish'

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About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 4
Active time:20 minutes
Total time:about 1 hour
This recipe appears in: Ham and Gruyère Bread Pudding From 'One Good Dish'

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 day-old French baguette, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 pound good-quality smoked ham, diced
  • 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated nutmeg
  • 6 scallions, finely slivered

Procedures

  1. 1

    Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a shallow 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Spread the remaining butter thinly on the slices of baguette. Line the baking dish with half the baguette slices, butter side down.

  2. 2

    Arrange the ham and half the cheese over the bread. Top with the remaining baguette slices, butter side up, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

  3. 3

    Beat together the eggs and half-and-half, adding 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Grate in a little nutmeg, add the scallions, and whisk again. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, pushing down to submerge the bread if necessary.

  4. 4

    Bake for about 45 minutes, until the custard is set but still a bit wiggly and the top is nicely browned.

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