I’ve never much cared for sweet bread puddings. Not at all, actually. I always feel like I’m missing out when that happens, so, many years ago, I thought to make a savory-style bread pudding for a potluck brunch event and figured it would be a great way to test it out and not get stuck with a pan of something that I didn’t care for. I knew it would be more than edible as I’m just kind of blessed with being able to put things together and have them turn out well. I used my basic 2 eggs to 1 cup heavy cream ratio and went from there adding ingredients that work well together. It was a HUGE hit and everyone asked for the recipe! And I fell in love with it from the very first bite! I later made it for my catering jobs as well as at a cafe that my neighbor opened that I cooked and baked at to help get her started. The general public enjoyed it just as much and it became a permanent item on both the cafe’s menu as well as mine!
This bread pudding isn’t something that you’d want to eat very often due to the calories, but I don’t worry about them for special occasions and just have fun and enjoy the gifts of the season! And this is a wonderfully warm and cozy dish that has autumn written all over it! Perfect this time of year with the fresh sweetness of the pears, the spicy sausage and smokey bacon, and a decadent richness from the blue cheese that just makes you sigh! It pairs really well with an egg and asparagus strata, roasted potatoes threaded onto rosemary sprigs, lots of fresh fruit, tea & coffee, and of course, Mimosas! If having a brunch party at home, you can even set up a “Mimosa bar” with chilled bottles of Champagne and assorted juices such as orange, pineapple, pomegranate, pear, cranberry, strawberry, peach, grapefruit and any other juices you happen to find at your local store that sound like fun. And there are plenty of inexpensive Champagnes and sparkling white wines these days that taste fantastic so you don’t have to break the bank. If wanting or needing non-alcoholic beverages, a few bottles of chilled white grape juice work just as well and is just as fun! Boy I miss catering….many, many fond memories, though! 😉
So when those autumn mornings turn chilly, and that icy wind blows in from the north, keep this in mind to take the shivers away! It will definitely warm you up from cold nose to freezin’ toes, and is heavenly delicious!! Though this tastes very fancy-schmancy, it’s easy to make and just uses everyday items easily found at any grocery store! I hope this gives you inspiration of what to make for that upcoming event or important occasion such as a birthday or maybe an anniversary, or just to simply say, “I love you”, to someone special! 😉 Hope you enjoy and have a fun day! Laughter fixes everything, ya know! 😉 🙂
SAVORY AUTUMN BREAD PUDDING with SAUSAGE, BACON, BOSC PEARS & BLUE CHEESE
4 lean thick-cut strips bacon cooked crisp, torn small bite-sized
1 (16 oz.) pkg. ground mild, sweet or hot Italian sausage
1 large ripe Bosc pear, peeled and chopped bite-sized
1 large shallot, peeled and chopped, (1/4 cup)
2 Tbl. real butter
1 tsp. dark brown sugar
3 extra-large eggs, well beaten
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 (8 oz.) long skinny french baguette
2 Tbl. spicy brown or whole grain mustard
1 (5 oz.) container crumbled blue cheese, (1 cup crumbled)
Place bacon on foil-lined, sided (not flat), cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a little coarse ground black pepper if desired and bake for 15-20 minutes in preheated 375 degree oven turning once during last 5 minutes. Remove to paper towels to drain and cool. Break into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
In small frying pan, sauté sausage until done, breaking into dime-sized pieces as it cooks. Remove to paper towels with bacon. Pour out grease, rinse and wipe clean. Sauté pears and shallots in butter and dark brown sugar, (can sub light brown), for 5 minutes until onions are tender and pears are still a little crisp. Remove from heat and set aside.
In large (4-cup) glass measuring pitcher (or small bowl), whisk eggs well. Whisk in heavy whipping cream, salt and pepper.
Slice open baguette and spread insides evenly with mustard to cover. Use a tad more if needed. Slice first half lengthwise again, hold the 2 pieces together, and slice into 1″ pieces. Spray inside of a deep, 2 1/2 qt. (or larger) baking dish with butter-flavored spray (I like Crisco’s), and place cut up baguette pieces on the bottom to cover. Cut up second half of baguette the same way and place into medium-sized bowl. To bowl add the sausage, bacon, shallots and pears (butter and all), and blue cheese. Toss with spoon to mix. Dump over baguette pieces in baking dish. Arrange top nicely adjusting a few pieces to make it even.
Slowly pour egg and cream mixture over evenly. Place baking dish into shallow roaster. Fill roaster 1″ deep with hot tap water. Bake in 350 degree oven for 50-55 minutes until knife inserted near center comes out clean and top is nicely browned and lightly crispy. Cool 5-10 minutes. Serve anytime of day for breakfast, brunch, lunch or supper! Prepare to be WOWed!
*Tip: I always cook my whole pound of bacon in the oven, use what I need, wrap the rest in a clean papertowel and freeze in a ziploc baggie for ease of future use and a one-time mess/cleanup! When you need to use some, take out how ever many strips you need, place on a sheet of papertowel and cover with another and microwave on high for 8-12 seconds until re-sizzling. Wah-lah!