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Mushroom Bread Pudding

Mushroom Bread Pudding
For a boost in flavor, make this bread pudding with wild mushrooms. Some, such as shiitakes and oyster mushrooms, are no longer truly wild but are farm raised and now widely available. Cremini and portobellos, cousins of the common white button, are farmed for their slightly more robust flavor. Some wild mushrooms still grow only wild and must be hand harvested by trained foragers. Look for porcini (cèpes), morels, chicken-of-the-woods and lobster mushrooms.

The mushroom mixture can be sautéed the night before. Let cool, cover and refrigerate, returning it to room temperature before using. The pudding should be assembled just before baking. This is an exclusive online recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Collection series.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions, white
      and tender green portions
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh marjoram or 1 1/2 tsp. dried
      marjoram, crumbled
  • 1 lb. white button or cremini mushrooms, thinly
      sliced
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup medium-dry sherry
  • 7 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 tsp. hot-pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 1 baguette, cut into 1-inch-thick diagonal slices
      (about 16 slices)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325°F. Generously butter a baking dish.

In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the green onions and marjoram and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and salt and cook, stirring once or twice, until the mushrooms release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the sherry and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Whisk in the half-and-half and hot-pepper sauce. Add the bread slices and let stand, stirring gently once or twice, until the bread is moist and soft. Arrange half the bread slices in a single layer in the prepared dish. Spread half the mushrooms over the bread. Arrange the remaining bread slices over the mushroom layer, then top with the remaining mushrooms. Pour any egg mixture remaining in the bowl evenly over all.

Bake until the pudding is puffed and golden and the center is just set, about 45 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot or warm. Serves 8 to 10.

An exclusive online recipe from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Thanksgiving, by Michael McLaughlin (Simon & Schuster, 2001).