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Arugula, Bacon & Gruyère Bread Pudding

I decided at the last minute to cook lunch on Christmas Day for my mom and Bryan. I wanted something eggy and cheesy and turned to the twitterverse [1] for help. I got a bunch of good suggestions, but when my friend, and fellow blogger, Kristin sent me a recipe [2] for a savory bread pudding–I knew I had found what I was looking for.

Bread pudding is something I haven’t always enjoyed. I’ve had too many boring, overly sweet desserts that just didn’t satisfy. But over the past few months I have had some really spectacular bread puddings in Chicago restaurants (a savory bread pudding at Nightwood [3] and the orange/chocolate bread pudding at Ruxbin [4]). I started warming up to the idea of trying one at home. This was the right recipe at the right time.
I served the bread pudding with a green salad and some cinnamon rolls, on a very snowy and beautiful Christmas morning. This was absolutely delicious and I can’t wait for an excuse to make it again.
Thanks, Kristin, for sharing such an awesome recipe!

Arugula, Bacon & Gruyere Bread Pudding (adapted from Gourmet [5])

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Butter a 2-qt shallow baking dish.
Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, and 1/4 tsp each of salt and black pepper in a large bowl.
Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain, then coarsely crumble.
Pour off all but 1 Tbsp fat from skillet. Increase heat to medium-high and cook shallot and garlic, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Gradually add arugula and cook, stirring, until it wilts.
Stir arugula mixture, bacon, bread, and cheese into custard. Transfer to baking dish and cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake until golden in spots, about 10 minutes more.

***I was not a huge fan of the leftovers, so plan on eating all of this at once (or cut the recipe in half).