I have this thing with good bread. Don’t give me a chain grocery store baguette or a loaf of pre-packaged multigrain that gets dry two days after you’ve bought it. Give me some true, down home bread that you fetch out of the bakery case yourself and that you can’t help yourself from digging into on the way home because the aroma just fills your car and surely you just need to try it and make sure it’s alright. Sorry, gluten-free friends, I just can’t hang with you. I have too much of a love affair with fresh- from-the-corner-bakery bread.
Which brings me to this bread pudding. Let’s just talk for a second about bread pudding. Bread pudding is a dish, typically enjoyed by all as a dessert, that just screams comfort and makes you want to curl up under your favorite blanket on the couch in front of a blazing fire. There are soooo many different variations on bread pudding, and it really can be made with any type of bread and any fillings you desire.
For my little foray into the bread pudding world, I decided I was craving something a bit more on the savory side. My mouth started watering as I thought of all the delicious components I could add to make this something worthy of even your Thanksgiving spread (yes, Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away!!! Have you made your Thanksgiving menu yet? Please do share! I want all the Thanksgiving food stuffs.)
Crispy prosciutto, brown butter infused with garlic and sage, shredded Gruyere, and the bread, the bread folks! I would settle for nothing less than a 1 ½ pound boule of the most delicious, FRESH sourdough bread for this dish. I had my mind made up and it was going to happen.
But even with this delicious hunk of love (er, I mean, sourdough bread) I couldn’t leave it be. As soon as the butter started simmering on the stove with the minced garlic and whole, fresh sage leaves, I quickly decided that this sourdough needed to be tossed and toasted in the brown butter to REALLY get these homey, comforting fall flavors across.
Add the crispy prosciutto, the Gruyere (plus some other cheeses I had hanging around ‘cuz why not?), some eggs…I even reserved the sage that had been infusing the brown butter to chop up, mixed it with some fresh sage that wasn’t already drenched in butter and added all that…I could hardly wait the 35 minutes for this thing to come out of the oven! The smells permeating from the kitchen just wouldn’t let me be. Good thing I needed to take some photos or else I probably would have burned my fingers off trying to taste it right out of the oven.
But the wait was soooo worth it. The garlic and sage brown butter toasted sourdough bread cubes counteract perfectly with the saltiness of the crispy prosciutto and the bite from the Gruyere and other cheeses. Every once in a while you get a bite of that sage and all is right with the world. It’s like a glorified grilled cheese that you don’t have to feel bad about serving at your holiday table. Who can argue with that?
Have any of you tried a savory bread pudding? What did you put in yours? I’m trying to try my hand at more variations of this!
- 5 cups cubed sourdough bread (from a loaf, none of this sliced sandwich bread stuff)
- ½ cup butter
- 12 fresh sage leaves, separated
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 eggs
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 slices prosciutto, cut into smaller pieces
- 1 cup + ¼ cup mixed shredded cheese, separated (I used Gruyere, Parmesan and Romano)
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place butter in large sauté pan over medium heat. As soon as butter is melted, add 8 fresh sage leaves and garlic to pan. Let infuse until butter has browned slightly, remove from heat. Remove sage leaves with a slotted spoon or tongs and reserve for later.
- Return sauté pan with butter to medium-high heat and add cubed sourdough. Stir to coat bread in butter then allow bread to toast in butter. This may take up to 10 minutes, just keep an eye on the bread and stir as necessary so all sides of the cubes get nice and toasted.
- Once bread cubes are toasted, set aside in a large bowl.
- Next, prepare all other parts of the pudding. Whisk eggs in a small bowl; set aside.
- To prepare prosciutto, heat up a medium sauté pan on medium-high heat with olive oil. Once pan is hot, add prosciutto and let it start to fry. Once prosciutto is crispy, remove from sauté pan and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up some of the excess grease.
- Chop up reserved, fried sage leaves as well as the 4 additional sage leaves that were not in the brown butter mixture.
- Add beaten eggs, crispy prosciutto, sage, 1 cup shredded cheese, almond milk, nutmeg and salt and pepper to bowl with toasted bread cubes in it. Stir until combined. Pour bread mixture into a ceramic baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray (I used this 8-inch ceramic pie plate); top with remaining ¼ cup shredded cheese.
- Bake bread pudding in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn broiler on high and broil for an additional 5-6 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool before eating.
Wine Pairing Suggestion: This would be phenomenal with a Chardonnay that has a little bit of oak on it. I highly recommend Alpha Omega Chardonnay.