Herb and Apple Bread Pudding
This bread pudding is based on the Thanksgiving stuffing that Ina Garten been making for her husband, Jeffrey, for decades. She prefers to roast her turkey without stuffing because it cooks faster and stays moister. Bread pudding that bakes alongside the turkey is the best of both worlds: moist turkey and crispy stuffing.
- 8 cups (3/4-inch/2-cm dice) country bread cubes, crusts removed
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
- 3 oz. (90 g) pancetta, 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
- 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
- 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g) medium-diced celery
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) medium or dry sherry
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 7 extra-large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups (20 fl. oz./625 ml) heavy cream
- 1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml) chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 2 cups (8 oz./245 g) lightly packed grated Gruyère cheese
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Place the bread in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, tossing once, until lightly browned. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large (12-inch/30-cm) sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta, raise the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, until browned. Stir in the onions, celery and apple and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the sherry, rosemary, 1 Tbs. salt and 1 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone. Off the heat, stir in the parsley.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, cream, chicken stock and 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g) of the Gruyère in a very large bowl. Stir in the bread and the vegetable mixture and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the custard. Pour into a 9-by-13-by-2-inch (23-by-33-by-5-cm) oven-to-table baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) Gruyère and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is browned and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Serve hot. Serves 8 to 10.
Make Ahead: Assemble early in the day, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bake just before serving.
Reprinted from Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Copyright © 2016 by Ina Garten. Photographs by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.