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Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding with Cambozola Cheese

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Serves 8-10 in a baking dish, or fills eight 1-cup ramekins

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 30

This hearty combination of mushrooms and onions with rich Cambozola cheese (a blue-Brie hybrid) is a perfect complement to beef. It you can't find Cambozola, try a blue like Gorgonzola instead.

  • 3 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. butter
  • 2 cups chopped onions (about 2 large)
  • 1-1/2 lb. mushrooms (mix of shiitake caps and creminis), sliced
  • 1-1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1/2 cup of Madeira
  • 1 can rich beef broth (10-1/2 oz.)
  • 1 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 9 oz. peasant or hearty whole-wheat bread, stale or oven-dried (see recipe at left), cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 8 oz. Cambozola cheese (rind trimmed), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Heat 1 Tbs. of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and season with a little salt and pepper; cook until tender, 5 to 7 min. Remove the onions and set aside. In the same skillet, heat another 1 Tbs. butter. Add half of the mushrooms and season with 1/4 tsp. marjoram, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Cook over high heat until the muchrooms are browned and all the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 min. Set aside with the onions. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms, using another 1 Tbs. butter and seasoning again with 1/4 tsp. marjoram, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. When the mushrooms are brown, add the first batch of cooked mushrooms and the onions back into the skillet. Add the Madeira. Cook, stirring frequently, over high heat until the liquid evaporates and the mixture is a rich brown, about 5 min. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Heat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, whisk together the broth, cream, eggs, egg yolks, thyme, and the remaining 1/2 tsp. marjoram, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Add the bread and the mushroom mixture to the custard; toss. Let sit for 30 min., stirring occasionally, to saturate the bread. Gently stir in the cheese.

Brush a 2-qt. (or 9x13-inch) baking dish evenly with the remaining 2 tsp. butter. Pour the bread mixture into the baking dish, distributing the ingredients evenly. Bake in the hot oven until lightly browned and firm, 40 to 45 min. (Alternatively, butter eight 1-cup ramekins and divide the bread mixture among them. Bake until lightly browned and firm, 30 to 35 min.)

Photo: Rita Maas

This recipe is fabulous! It has been my "go to" recipe for Christmas dinner since it was first published. I make it in a large baking dish and refrigerate it overnight. As written it is very rich. It is easily lightened by adding more mushrooms and using a lighter dairy product. Cambozola makes the dish, so don't leave that out!

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