savoury bread pudding

Do you ever get into that pre-holiday (vacation) situation where you need to empty the fridge before you go away but you seem to have a pretty random collection of ingredients in amounts that seem too small to actually be of any use?
Well that was how this came about, hence the tiny amount of mascarpone and ham listed and the approximate quantities I’ve used. I stood staring at the contents of the fridge, half thinking about what I should be packing for our trip to Cuba, half wondering what on earth I was going to do with the food that was staring back at me.
It acually turned out to be an amazing weekend breakfast, I’ll certainly be making it again. I realise that the words savoury and bread pudding don’t sit entirely comfortably together but if you prefer you can think of it as a bread fittata. Either way it’s pretty delicious!

leek & serrano ham bread pudding

Ingredients
serves two really hungry/greedy people

1 tbsp butter
leeks (about 8″, trimmed and thinly sliced)
small sweet red pepper (sliced)
3 eggs
175ml whole milk or 100ml milk and 75ml cream
salt and pepper
baguette (about 6″)
3 tbsp grated cheese (whatever you’ve got sitting in the fridge)
1 tbsp mascarpone (optional but makes it lovely and creamy)
3 slices of serrano ham or similar (optional)

Savoury bread pudding

Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and slice the bread into rounds, about 1 cm thick.
Melt the butter in a frying pan, brush a little of it around your chosen baking dish and then brush some of it onto the slices of bread (on one side only). Use what’s left to gently sautee the leeks until they start to brown a little. Add the peppers and cook to 2-3 minutes more.
Beat the milk, eggs and seasoning together in a jug or mixing bowl and then beat in the mascarpone if you’re using it. Don’t worry if it isn’t completely blended. Stir the leeks and peppers into this custard and then pour the whole lot into the baking dish.
Arrange the bread and ham (if using) in the dish, pushing them down into the custard so that they soak it up nicely. Sprinkle the cheese over the whole lot and then bake it for 35-40 minutes, until the eggs have set and the top is deliciously golden.

leek, cheese and ham bread pudding