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 for help. I got a bunch of good suggestions, but when my friend, and fellow blogger, Kristin sent me a recipe 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 and the orange/chocolate bread pudding at Ruxbin). 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)

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 large eggs
  • 6 bacon slices
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 oz baby arugula or baby spinach (6 cups)
  • 6 cups cubed (1-inch) country-style bread (1 lb)
  • 5 1/2 oz Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)

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).

24 comments to “Arugula, Bacon & Gruyère Bread Pudding”

  1. I have never tried savoury bread pudding, but this looks so delicious I can’t wait. Your pictures and descriptions of the Christmas morning look so intimate and peaceful, and this pudding sounds like the ideal complement to it.

  2. Wow sounds like an absolutely amazing meal! I really haven’t ever tried a savory bread pudding – the closest I’ve come is a stove-top stuffing. But this sounds like a good one to start with – anything with arugula and gruyere has got to be delicious in my book! Thanks for sharing!

  3. This reminds me of that incredible bread salad in Judy Roger’s Zuni Cafe Cookbook. I always add some wilted greens…

  4. g.s.-I’ll have to look up the Zuni Cafe recipe, sounds great!

  5. I’ve never had a savory bread pudding like this. Sounds amazing.

  6. The Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken and Bread Salad is amazing, you should definitely try it. But, this also reminded my of another Judy Roger recipe (I’m pretty sure there’s an Alice Waters one out there too) for Onion and Swiss Chard Pannade. It’s like bread pudding, with the bread and savory vegetable and cheese layers, but instead of a custard, you ladle broth over the whole thing and bake it slow and low until sumptuously tender on the inside and crusty on top. Almost like a baked french onion soup casserole. And, the leftovers are fantastic — microwaved at work, or pan-fried at home topped with an easy-over egg.

  7. and this bread pudding o’de gods, Tim, is why i NEVAH look at Lottie & Doof unless i’m already eating. you lead me down the slippery path but i love it. my lunchtime fave.

  8. who needs an excuse? making this!!! love your blog!!!

  9. So, so glad you liked it, Tim. It looks beautiful (and sounds like a perfect Christmas lunch).

  10. Love the idea of a savory bread pudding. Bacon makes everything better!

  11. i HAVE to make this. thanks so much for sharing!

    PS — I found your blog a few weeks ago, and have been loving every bit of it. you’re an excellent inspiration to me. thanks for sharing your life with us!

  12. Sivan Harlap says:

    January 20th, 2011 at 5:20 pm


  13. Looks amazing! Someone brought a vegetarian version with kale to my “friends Thanksgiving” dinner and it was delicious, but I’m guessing this is an example of better with bacon.

    Also, I had the bread pudding at Ruxbin last weekend…. so good, I was bitter I had to split it!

  14. i was searching for recipes all afternoon, for a work appetizer potluck… and low and behold.. i think i’ve found it. this looks so yummy, and who wouldn’t want cheesy bread!? i love this blog! thanks for the great recipe. happy new year!

  15. Not a big fan of bread puddings, but anything with bacon and cheese in it is worth a try!

  16. savory bread pudding?! *faint* i have to try this! mmm.

  17. Arugula & Gruyere are two of my favorite ingredients. Love this idea.

  18. Okay, I officially swooned while reading this post! I will definitely have to try this, and thanks for the inspiration.

  19. Just got home from being stuck in the blizzard…and this will be tonight’s project thanks for another great recipe!!

  20. perfect blizzard food. enjoy!

  21. Four of my favorite things in one dish. Thanks so much for this recipe. I hope it finds it’s way to my breakfast table soon.

  22. I made this a month ago and it was great! Making it again tomorrow for a brunch. YUM!

  23. added squash to this recipe and it was DELICIOUS. Thanks so much. Really helped make it a perfect night.

  24. I’ve been trying to eat a little healthier for a week or so and then I stumble across this….Damn you, I just must try this! It simply looks too sensational to ignore.

What do you think?