Well, I managed to unbury myself (out of the snow AND the homework) to share yet another course of Mark's Valentine's Day dinner with you. See that cute little cast iron frying pan the pudding's served in? Those were MY Valentine's Day presents (I got two). They even came with little pot holders that fit over the handles to protect your hands when transporting them. They were actually perfect for this dish, so they were a nice surprise.
The recipe is called Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding, but it was more like mushroom stuffing. It was really good, but maybe needed a bit more of the liquid to give it the "pudding" consistency. However, the middle was softer and had that bread pudding taste. So if I were you, I'd increase everything just a bit or decrease the bread a bit to make sure there's enough liquid.
Here's how I made it:
We got this great looking challah at the West Side Market. It was so fluffy and good.
Chop the bread into cubes...
Then bake the cubes in 1 layer in a large shallow baking pan until golden-brown, about 10 minutes.
I used a mix of shiitake, oyster, and cremini mushrooms.
Slice the mushrooms into strips...
Cook the shallots in butter over medium heat until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and some thyme like I did if you'd like. Cook until the liquid that the mushrooms give off has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Then add parsley and garlic and cook about another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Whisk together half-and-half, eggs, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Pour the mixture over the browned bread cubes...
Add the mushroom mixture and stir until the bread cubes are coated well.
Let stand 10 minutes for bread to absorb some of egg mixture.
Butter the ramekins (or cute little frying pans like me!), and fill with the pudding mixture. If you're using ramekins like the recipe suggests, be sure to add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom of each ramekin and butter those too. This will make it easier to unmold the puddings at the end.
Bake the mushroom puddings in a 350 degree oven until firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes. If you use ramekins, unmold the puddings and discard the parchment. If not, just serve!
Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding
Gourmet | December 2007
4 cups (1/2-inch) fresh bread cubes (preferably brioche or challah; about 5 ounces)
1 1/2 pounds mixed fresh wild mushrooms such as chanterelle, cremini, and oyster, trimmed
1/2 cup finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups half-and-half
4 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
(I suggest also adding thyme)
Equipment: 8 (6-ounce) ramekins
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Bake bread cubes in 1 layer in a large shallow baking pan until golden-brown, about 10 minutes.
Tear or cut mushrooms lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces.
Cook shallot in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until liquid mushrooms give off has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add parsley and garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Whisk together half-and-half, eggs, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Stir in mushrooms and bread cubes until coated well and let stand 10 minutes for bread to absorb some of egg mixture.
Meanwhile, butter ramekins, then put a round of parchment in bottom of each and butter parchment.
Spoon mixture into ramekins and bake on a baking sheet until firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes. Unmold puddings and discard parchment.
• Mushroom bread pudding can be baked in a buttered 2-quart shallow baking dish (not lined with parchment; do not unmold pudding from baking dish).
• Bread cubes can be baked 1 day ahead and cooled, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
• Pudding can be assembled (but not baked) 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered. If making the fillet of beef, bake puddings while beef stands (meat can stand a little longer).