Leek Bread Pudding
I had a crazy Thanksgiving this year, three meals at three different households, each time feeling like I’m so full I might die. Is the “Thanksgiving 15” a new thing? I think so.
Am I complaining? Not really. Not when I have an excuse to make my all time favorite Thanksgiving dish three times! This dish is the incredible Leek Bread Pudding from Thomas Keller‘s Ad Hoc cookbook. Sweet, savory, crispy and fluffy, it’s so delicious that it’s become a Thanksgiving staple for our family.
Adapted from Thomas Keller Ad Hoc | Cook and prep time: 2 hours | Serves: 12
4 cups of 1/2 inch thick sliced leeks, washed (light green and white parts only). The original recipe called for only 2 cups but it tastes better with more.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp of unsalted butter
12 cups of 1 inch cubed sandwich loaf. You can use any soft white bread (original recipe called for brioche or Pullman sandwich loaf).
2 tbsp of finely chopped chives
1 tsp thyme leaves
3 large eggs
3 cups of whole milk
3 cups of heavy cream
Pinch of nutmeg
1 1/2 cups of shredded Comte or Emmentaler cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Add clean sliced leeks to a hot skillet on high heat. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. The leeks will release a little liquid and begin to soften. Turn stove to medium-low heat, and add butter. Taste & season with salt and pepper as needed. Cover the leeks with a parchment lid and stir every 10 minutes, cook for a total of 30 to 35 minutes or until leeks are very soft. You will have to make this parchment lid with parchment paper (see video for instructions). If this is too much trouble, simply saute the leeks until soft, the results are more or less the same.
While your leeks are on the stove cooking, arrange the cubed bread on baking sheets, and toast in the oven until dry and pale gold. Keep an eye on this because the bread burns easily. Set bread aside.
Once leeks are ready, combine leeks with the toasted bread, thyme and 1 tbsp of the finely chopped chives, and mix well.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, heavy cream, salt and nutmeg.
In a large baking pan (9×13), sprinkle 1/4 of the shredded cheese on the bottom and layer toasted bread and leek mixture. Continue to layer cheese and toasted bread, ending with cheese. Pour milk and egg mixture into the baking pan so that it covers the bread. Allow parts of the bread stick out through the custard mixture, so it can brown nicely. Sprinkle remaining chives on top. Soak for 15 minutes.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours uncovered or until the custard sets.