For this week’s dining newsletter, the lovely and talented Hailey Eber spoke with Nicholas Morgenstern of the General Greene (which has just started serving breakfast and lunch on weekdays). Morgenstern gave us this over-the-top, savory bread pudding, which you can make instead of stuffing for this year’s Thanksgiving. Basically, it’s just a lot richer than your average stuffing, featuring brioche, cheese, ham, tons of butter, cream and 9 (9!) eggs. Bring it on.
Ham and Gruyere Bread Pudding
Yield: about 10 servings
While General Greene’s Nicholas Morgenstern tells us it’s best to start this recipe two days ahead, it will also work if you start one day ahead. Get going, because Thanksgiving is tomorrow.
1 pound brioche, cubed (approximately 1 1/2 to 2 loaves)
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup diced ham
3/4 cup grated Gruyere
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
5 egg yolks
2 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup cream
Spray a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray (alternatively, grease it with butter). Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside the pan so that the bottom and both long sides are both covered with paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix brioche, melted butter, ham, Gruyere, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, nutmeg and sugar. Stuff the mixture into the loaf pan, pushing down so that the mixture fills the corners. It might seem like too much bread mixture, but compress it until it all fits.
In a medium bowl whisk the yolks and eggs. Whisk in the milk, cream and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture in the pan, taking care to evenly soak the bread and pushing it down into the pan as you go. It may take a few minutes for the bread to soak up the liquid; wait, and then continue to pour until all of the egg mixture is in the pan. Cover the top with a tight layer of plastic wrap, and let soak in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Unwrap loaf pan and place in a 4 quart baking dish. Pour hot water into the baking dish until the water comes approximately half way up the side of the loaf pan. Place in oven carefully, and bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes until the top is browned, it is firm to the touch, and when a knife is inserted in the middle it comes out moist, not wet. Remove loaf pan from the oven, and from the water and let cool. Once the loaf pan is cool, wrap it in plastic wrap again. If possible, refrigerate overnight. If not, refrigerate for as long as you can.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To serve, unwrap the pan, run a knife around the edges of the pan, and invert onto a cutting board. Release the pudding by knocking on the bottom on the pan, or shaking vigorously. Once out of the pan, remove parchment paper and slice. Reheat slices in the hot oven for 10 minutes.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 26, 2008