Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Savory Bacon Bread Pudding

Adapted from The Best American Recipes 2002-2003 edited by Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens

Serves 4

This is very good and a little different from your usual starch. Serve it in place of potatoes, rice, or noodles. If you're a vegetarian, just leave out the bacon. 

A country style bread with a thick crust will give the puddings some texture; a softer bread will make a softer pudding. Try it both ways to see if you have a preference.

3 slices bacon
1⅓ cups whole milk
2 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups bread cubed (about three ½-inch slices with crust left on)
⅔ cups freshly grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter four 6-ounce custard cups. I use Pyrex. Cook the bacon until it is crisp, cool, crumble into small pieces - but not crumbs - and set aside. Whisk together the milk and eggs. Add a little salt and pepper. Stir in the bread cubes, cheese, and bacon. Divide the mixture among the custard cups.

Put the cups in a baking dish, and add hot water to the baking dish to reach halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the puddings are just set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the baking pan from oven and custard cups from the baking pan. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the cups to loosen the puddings. Serve warm.

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