Waggons West Etsy Shop

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ham and Cheese on Rye Bread Pudding

In the interest of collecting the recipes I've posted hither and yon on the intertubes, I am reposting them here. This is from March of 2010 and was posted on blogoram. Next time I'll look for a more summery recipe.

ham and swiss on rye bread pudding

The whole gang was showing up and I had just a litte while to throw together something for them to eat. Certainly not enough time to go to the store so I would have to make do with whatever was in the fridge and pantry. Let’s see… there is most of a loaf of cocktail rye left from the rueben dip experiment, shredded swiss from the same experiment and a couple slices of deli ham, eggs, milk and a carton of heavy cream for the broccoli soup that didn’t get made. Hmmm…. sounds like bread pudding to me.

First chop up the bread, ham and swiss. Toss them together and put into a well greased oven safe casserole dish.

Ham, cheese and bread.

Ham, cheese and bread.

2 close up

Now to mix up the custard.

Custard ingredients eggs, mustard, pepper, cream, milk

Custard ingredients eggs, mustard, pepper, cream, milk

Crack 7 eggs into a large bowl. Whisk until frothy.

5 whisk eggs

Add cream.

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups heavy cream

Whisk it well. (The more air you incorporate in the custard the lighter the pudding.)

6 whisk in cream

Add 1 1/2 cups milk.

7 whisk in milk

Whisk some more!

9 add milk

Add 1 tsp mustard.

8  1 tsp mustard

Now, you guessed it, whisk some more. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I you want to actually taste it at this point, you will have to put a small amount in a dish and microwave it or fry a bit in a pan. Just remember that the ham and the cheese will add salt so don’t go overboard.)

Once you’ve mixed it all up you can pour it over the bread and cheese mixture.

10 pour over bread mixture

Toss it gently with a large spoon and push the bread into the liquid so it all gets coated with custard.

11 push bread under

Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit at least 30 minutes. You can leave it in the refrigerator as long as overnight. This allows the flavors to mingle and the bread to soak up all the juices. The longer it soaks, the less distinct the bread will be in the final product.

Bake your pudding at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. The top will be puffy and the eggs will be set (it won’t jiggle around when you wiggle the pan).

If you remember, I had guests arriving in short order so I was only able to let it stand for about 30 minutes. Add in the fact that the rye bread is pretty sturdy and you have a bread pudding with obvious chunks of bread.

ham and swiss on rye bread pudding

The real beauty of making bread pudding… actually there are several beautiful things about bread pudding. One it is a way to use of leftover bread. I cut the ends of loaves of bread into cubes and store them in a zipper bag in the freezer. When I get enough to fill a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish, I make bread pudding. Two, you can make it sweet or savory.

If you need to follow a recipe here are a couple I like.

Paula Deen’s killer (in more ways than one) “Best Bread Pudding”.

A fantastic Wild Mushroom bread pudding from Bon Apetit. I’ve been making this one a couple times a year since it was published in 1997!

And here is a blueberry bread pudding with bourbon sauce that I also love. Funny thing… I couldn’t find this when I searched for blueberry bread pudding so it took a while to find it. Reading over the recipe, I realize I follow it exactly except… I use the Hawaiian pineapple bread instead of brioche. I use blueberries instead of raisins. I sometimes make the bourbon sauce and sometimes I make a maple sauce.

Best of all, you can experiment with relative impunity.
Less bread = more custard
Fewer eggs = softer and creamier
More eggs = more quiche-like in texture
More sugar = more pecan pie like texture
No sugar = make it as savory as you like
Add in whatever you like. For sweet ones add fruit, dot with preserves, add nuts. Add anything you would add to a quiche or an omelet to make it savory.

Experiment away and put your favorite combo in the comments.

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