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Leek Bread Pudding

I hate thanksgiving food.  I know hate is a strong word but it is how I feel and I just had to get it out in the open.  What I love about my family's tradition is that we go to a friend's house for a potluck feast where there are items for traditionalists like sweet potatoes with marshmallows and cranberry sauce as well as those for the non-traditionalist like cajun-spiced turducken and my Mom's incredible spicy broccoli.

Three years ago, our potluck was canceled at the last minute.  I seized the opportunity to try and make a stuffing I could actually stand the smell of and possibly even eat! I settled on Thomas Keller's Leek Bread Pudding, which was quite possibly the best thing I had ever eaten.



 


Leek Bread Pudding

Serves:

12 side portions

Ingredients

4 large leeks – cut in ½ lengthwise and then into ½” thick slices

4 tbl butter

1/2 cup white wine

12 cups crusty bread – cut into 1” cubes

2 tbl fresh thyme

3 eggs

3 cups whole milk

3 cups heavy cream

8 oz gruyere, grated

4 oz parmesan, grated

salt & pepper

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Preparation

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Clean the sliced leeks and dry thoroughly.

Heat butter in a large sauté pan. Add the leeks, season with salt and saute over med-hi heat for 5 minutes, until they start to stick to the bottom.

Deglaze the pan with white wine and scrap up browned bits. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in thyme and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, lightly toast the bread cubes in the oven until pale golden (about 5-10 minutes) – toss in a large bowl with leeks.

Whisk together eggs, milk, and cream – season this with salt and pepper.

In a 9x13 casserole dish spread ½ the bread mixture, top with ½ the gruyere and parmesan, and then spread the rest of the bread. Pour egg/milk custard over everything, making sure to get all of bread nice and wet.

Top with the remaining gruyere and parmesan.

Bake for 1 hr - 1 ½ hrs, until it feels set in the center (springs back slightly) and is golden brown.

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