Saturday morning. You follow your nose into a local bakery and come out with an exotic loaf you couldn’t resist – a black Russian with orange peel and cranberries, or a spelt sourdough full of nuts and seeds. You use a couple of slices for lunch and wonder what to do with the rest. But wait. Didn’t you also pick up a nice piece of ham and a big wedge of cheese? Suddenly this loaf is destined for brunch.
There’s a lot to love about a meal that stops the clock somewhere between breakfast and lunchtime, and walks a delicious line between sweet and savory. The apples and spices in this bread pudding say ‘pass the bacon’; the nuts and cheese say ‘pass the bubbly’.
This will be great with almost any kind of bread, and you can adapt the nuts, fruit and spices as instinct dictates. We especially like the pairing of hazelnuts and Jarlsberg, and how the yeasty perfume of the pudding blends with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
raisin nut bread pudding with apples and Jarlsberg
serves 6 – 8
NOTE: This pudding is best served as part of a savoury brunch. Drizzle it with maple syrup, and serve alongside ham, bacon, or breakfast sausages.
5 cups of cubed raisin nut-bread
2 cups warm milk
¼ cups sugar
¼ cups brown sugar, plus 6 tbsp., divided
2 tbsp. melted butter
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Macintosh apples
6 oz. Jarlsberg, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cups coarsely chopped hazelnuts, divided
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Put the bread cubes into a large mixing bowl, and pour the warm milk over them. Stir to combine. Let rest for 5 minutes if the bread is fresh, 10 minutes if the bread is stale.
In another large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the sugar, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, melted butter, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Core the apples and slice them thinly, leaving the skins on. Add the apple slices and cubed Jarlsberg to the egg mixture. Pour the egg-apple-cheese mixture over the bread cubes and stir to combine.
In the bottom of the baking dish, scatter 3 tbsp. of brown sugar and half of the chopped nuts. Pour the bread mixture into the dish and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake for 40 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Sprinkle 3 tbsp. brown sugar and the remaining hazelnuts over the top, and broil for 1 minute, or until the sugar is caramelized and the nuts are toasted. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.