Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wild Mushroom & Gruyère Cheese Bread Pudding

Wild Mushroom & Gruyère Cheese Bread Pudding
Serves 8

2 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/4 lb cremini & shiitake mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
3 3/4 cups stale french bread, crusts left on, cubed
3/4 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
5 tbsp butter
1 tbsp chopped parsley, for garnish
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Heat the oven to 375°F. Soak the porcini mushrooms in 1/4 cup of boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Whisk together the cream, eggs, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and set aside.

Lift the porcini mushrooms out of the water, careful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom, and chop them into a fine dice. Strain the soaking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve.

Clean and thickly slice the fresh mushrooms. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan, and cook the onions and garlic over medium heat until browned. Add thyme and cook for 3 minutes more. Add the fresh and reconstituted porcini mushrooms, and cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes, or until browned and quite a lot of moisture has cooked off. Stir in parsley, and remove from heat.

Whisk eggs, cream, cheese, porcini liquid, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add the bread and combine thoroughly using your hands. Gently squish the bread and egg together, and keep squishing until the bread is throughly soaked. Stir in the mushroom mixture and pour the whole lot into a pre-greased 9"x12" baking dish, copper casserole or small ramekins, for attractive individual servings. Cover and let the mixture stand for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 or 5 hours, or even overnight.

When ready to cook the bread pudding, dot the surface with 3 tablespoons of butter and bake until the pudding is golden brown and bubbly, about 40-50 minutes, and slightly less for the ramekins. Test for doneness by inserting a knife in the centre. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving warm with a light sprinkle of chopped parsley and parmesan cheese for garnish.

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