A lot of people consider bread pudding a classic comfort food, especially those who live in the South or have their roots on the other side of the Mason-Dixon line. Actually, it’s considered “extreme” comfort food by some Southerners.
But I’ve known a few Yanks who swear by bread pudding. Two of my former Grand Forks exercising cohorts used to travel regularly to a cafe in Mayville, N.D., for bread pudding and couldn’t stop raving about it.
I’ve eaten bread pudding a couple of times and found it to my liking. I was especially fond of the raisins in the tasty dessert.
Here’s a bread pudding recipe, sans the raisins, which caught my eye today. It’s from Los Angeles Time food writer Noelle Carter’s SOS column. Noelle adapted the recipe from Nopa in San Francisco, which uses a mixture of pain de mie and white levain breads in the dessert. But the most interesting ingredient is fresh goat cheese. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Goat Cheese Bread Pudding
3½ cups milk
3½ cups heavy cream
1 cup creme fraiche
8 cups crustless bread cubes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided
1 8-ounce log fresh goat cheese, crumbled
In a large bowl, mix together the milk, heavy cream and creme fraiche.
In an 11-by-15-inch baking dish, place the bread, mounding it slightly in the center of the dish. Pour over the milk mixture, gently pushing the bread down into the liquid so it is evenly soaked. Wrap the dish in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, black pepper and ¼ cup each Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses. Pour the egg mixture over the soaked bread. Dot the top with the crumbled goat cheese.
Using your hands, gently but thoroughly mix together all of the ingredients, making sure there are no pockets of unincorporated egg or cream. Don’t worry if the bread breaks down. When everything is thoroughly mixed, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and Gruyere over the top.
Cover the top of the dish with a sheet of greased foil, then place the baking dish in a larger roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven, carefully pouring in enough hot water to come up the sides of the baking dish by half.
Bake the bread pudding until set when jiggled (the middle will be moist but not runny), 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. Gently remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is browned, about 15 minutes more. Cool the bread pudding completely and chill before slicing, then rewarm the slices before serving.
Yield: Serves 16.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 382 calories, 12 grams protein, 13 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 31 grams fat (19 grams saturated), 189 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams sugar, 494 milligrams sodium.