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Tartine Bakery's savory bread pudding is much like a soufflé, but it's nearly impossible to mess up. You can assemble the dish up to a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator, letting it come to room temperature before baking. Bake the pudding an hour before you want to serve it. For the mushrooms, pastry chef Elisabeth Prueitt and her husband, baker Chad Robertson, use a mixture of chanterelles and porcini.
Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 pounds assorted mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps halved
1 head Treviso or other radicchio, leaves separated
5 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup grated Gruyère or cheddar cheese
3 ounces smoked ham, chopped
2 slices day-old Basic Country Bread, torn into large chunks
1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of wine evaporates, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is smoking, arrange the mushrooms cut-side down in the pan and cook without stirring until seared and caramelized, about 1 minute more. Stir the mushrooms, add the radicchio, and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
4. To make the custard, in a bowl, whisk the eggs and salt until well-blended. Add the cream, milk, pepper, nutmeg, thyme, 2/3 cup cheese, and ham and whisk to combine.
5. Place the bread chunks in an 8-inch soufflé dish and add the leeks, mushrooms, and radicchio. Pour in the custard so that it comes all the way to the rim. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Let stand for 8 to 10 minutes until the custard saturates the bread.
6. Bake until the custard is no longer runny in the center, about 50 minutes. Let the pudding rest for 15 minutes before serving.