I feel like I have been sitting on this leek bread pudding recipe forever, though it has technically only been six months — the New York Times ran this recipe from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home last October, when [updated: ahem, I had thought] leeks were decidedly out of season and apparently, I’m really becoming someone who really digs her heels in about these sorts of things. I imagine how much better something will taste in season, how much better it will look, how much more excited I’ll be when I “score” the thing I’ve been longing six months for and say “aargh, fine! I’ll wait.” And wait I did. (Jacob, too, was patient but mostly because he was just a little lump back then.)
Nevertheless, despite my initial grumbling that I was bereft of my favorite spring delights, I’ve been hauling back armloads from the Greenmarket since, literally as much as I can carry and leeks were finally among last week’s haul. (It has also helped that I’ve discovered the glories of Wednesday — glorious uncluttered, overflowing-stands Wednesdays! — shopping. Wednesday, I’m in love.) For this savory take on bread pudding, the leeks are sliced in pretty, pretty coins then cooked slowly in butter until soft and caramelized enough to bring tears to your eyes. I really get carried away with leeks, I know.
From there, you build a fairly standard savory bread pudding: toasted bread cubes, shredded cheese, herbs and a mix of milk or cream and eggs. If you follow the original recipe, you layer it up in a 9×13-inch baking dish. But I’ve had this notion for a long time that I would love a savory bread pudding in a loaf pan, sliced like the “bread” it once came from, and I’m glad I finally auditioned it because this here is a fun and adaptable way to eat it. For breakfast, you can toss some bacon or hash browns on top. You can even fry an egg on top, I know it is redundant because there are eggs inside but I won’t tell anyone, drippy yolks are important to people like me. For lunch, you can eat your slice with a pile of lightly dressed greens and a slip of proscuitto. For dinner — and what a wonderful thing this would be to bring to a dinner party, or serve at Thanksgiving or another big holiday meal — you put it alongside or underneath your roast. You let it get muddled with the sauces and juices on the plate. It only gets better, I promise. It was worth the wait.
One year ago: Ranch Rugelach (Cinnamon Buns get the rugelach treatment; we all win)
Two years ago: Jim Lahey’s Pizza Bianca and Brownie Roll-Out Cookies (one of my favorite cookies on earth)
Three years ago: Chicken Empanada with Chicken and Chorizo (hands down, the best empanadas I’ve ever eaten, anywhere)
Leek Bread Pudding
Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home
I actually had a chance to go to Ad Hoc shortly after it opened when I was out in San Francisco a couple years ago and I loved it. That kind of stepped-up home cooking speaks to me, as I have a hard time summoning the effort to make something unless it’s going to taste a little better than we might expect from the dish. This recipe perfectly embodies this: caramelized leeks, layered with toasted bread, cheese and custard that could be breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s my kind of dish.
The flavors here are pretty subtle, but they work. Nonetheless, there’s definitely potential to increase the amount of leeks you use and increase the amount of cheese. You might also add another sautéed vegetables or some sharp parmesan as well. This is a flexible recipe.
Makes one loaf. Double the recipe to fit in a 9×13 baking dish.
Serves 6 as a side dish
1 cup leeks in 1/2-inch thick slices, white and light green parts only, cleaned and rinsed
Kosher or coarse salt
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups 1-inch-cubed crustless brioche or Pullman loaf (I used a little less than one loaf)
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives (I forgot to buy these; it made me sad)
1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 cups whole milk, heavy cream or half-and-half or a combination thereof
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup shredded Comté, Emmanthaler or Swiss cheese
Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, drain excess water from leeks, and add to pan. Season with salt, and sauté until leeks begin to soften, about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in butter. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very soft, about 20 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While leeks are cooking, spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dry and pale gold, about 15 to 20 minutes (my already-stale brioche took less time to brown), turning pan about halfway through. Transfer to a large bowl, leaving the oven on.
Add leeks, chives and thyme to the bowl of bread; toss well. In another large bowl, lightly whisk the egg and egg yolks, then whisk in milk or cream, a generous pinch of salt, pepper to taste and a pinch of nutmeg.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons shredded cheese in bottom of a buttered 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Spread 1/2 of bread mixture in pan, and sprinkle with another 2 tablespoons cheese. Spread remaining bread mixture in pan, and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Pour in enough milk mixture to cover bread, and gently press on bread so milk soaks in. Let rest 15 minutes.
Add remaining milk mixture, letting some bread cubes protrude. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until pudding is set and top is brown and bubbling, about 55 to 65 minutes. Serve hot or cold (because I’m weird and enjoy bread pudding cold).
207 comments on leek bread pudding
I have never tasted a savory bread pudding, but it sounds delicious! I saw your tweet come through from Facebook and just wanted to say Congrats! :)
I am excited to try this and am even more excited to hear of your upcoming cookbook! I know it will be spectacular! Also, thanks for ensuring that it will be in a lay flat format! A good cook thinks of everything! You, my dear, are a great cook!
Oh….this looks delicious! I love savory bread dishes. I’ve just joined a CSA and look forward to having fun modifying this recipe with the goodies I’ll receive every week.
And Jacob…ahhhh…such a cutie!!
Bread pudding doesn’t have to be sweet. And that’s just fine. Congrats on the book too!
This looks perfect! At the restaurant I work at we made something like this with the addition of morels. We served it with fava beans and sorrel butter, and big curls of parmesan. Fantastic.
One question, I had purchased leeks for the first time when I made Ina Garten’s Spring Green Risotto and found them a little difficult to clean. My leeks had lots of mud in between the layers, even in the areas of the leeks that are very compact. Yours never seem to. Please share your cleaning techniques.
Delia and others with leek prep questions — These leeks we’re very clean, surprisingly, because they were so tight and new. I still removed the very dirty outer layers, however, they just didn’t seem like they’d get clean. For dirtier leeks, trim the ends, remove the outermost layer or two that is the dirtiest, halve them lengthwise and submerge them in very cold water, swish them around and pull them back out. (Rinsing them doesn’t work as well. When you want grit to drop out, it’s best to submerge something.)
I love love LOVE this recipe. We made it for Thanksgiving this year and it was king of the sides.
nom nom nom
This looks amazing Deb. Definitely my kind of dish too. :)
I just ate at Ad Hoc last weekend and loved it — I left inspired to flip through the cookbook again when I got home. Love the idea of putting this in a loaf pan!
I hadn’t even thought of savory bread pudding before – this sounds amazing though!
Yes! Ok, so I am not the only person who has been addicted to leeks, these past few weeks I have thrown together three different recipes containing leeks, now one more…is this a sign?
Deb this looks delicious. I am really excited about making it though I might add some ham as well. :)
Leeks…what’s not to love? And oh Deb, just read about the book deal. CONGRATS!!! I’ll try to contain myself until 2012.
My sister gave me “Ad Hoc at Home” for Christmas this year…and I cried. This is an amazing recipe!
Deb, What exactly IS a Pullman loaf? Also, if brioche is not readily available to me (eastern suburbs of Cleveland), would challah work for this bread pudding? I ADORE this site and that sweet nugget you get to cuddle every day!
Susan — Pullman loaf is actually a bakery term for white bread! So that will work. So will a baguette and so will challah.
Love that you baked it in a loaf pan. It’s such a small thing but I love how it makes for such neat slices. This sounds like a perfect springy dish.
Ooh wow this looks delicious. Not unlike a strata, really — and I love the idea of cheese, nutmeg, and leeks together. Wow.
This bread pudding looks amazing. I love bread pudding in all of its forms. Toasting the bread cubes before adding the eggs/milk is genius, and I really like the presentation as a bread loaf (instead of a 9×13 pan). I’ll have to try this recipe soon.
I just made this recently with his fried chicken. My oil got too hot so the fried chicken was abandoned and I made the same thing baked (a great alternative) and the leek bread pudding was INCREDIBLE with it and some roasted potatoes. I added crispy bacon too and that was a good addition.
Congrats on the book deal! I’ve been hunting but haven’t found info on it yet. Care to share any info?
thanks for your speedy reply. If it helps your readers, I just blogged an easy recipe for brioche (including how to make a brioche loaf) the other day. Not trying to push my blog, pinky swear, just think it is an easy recipe.
Mmm…I will definitely need to put this on my to-make list :D
I made this as part of my Ad Hoc Thanksgiving this past year and it was really fantastic. When I clean leaks, I slice lengthwise all the way almost to the root and swish around in cold water (a la Alton Brown) – works well for me!
I love you.
I don’t eat meat, but I miss eating stuffing (I know I could certainly make it without meat, but in my mind it lacks something on it’s own) and this looks like something that will give me the bready carby quality of savory stuffing only so very much more elegant and classy.
Ahhhhh, I LOVE bread pudding–sweet or savory, I love it all! This looks wonderful!
Lucky me. I own the book as well and love it. Unfortunately I haven’t cooked that much out of it yet. We love leeks, so I will mark the page. Thank you, Deb.
This looks great! I don’t know if you’re at all familiar with the Paley’s Place Cookbook, but it has an amazing savory bread pudding recipe in it. I used to work there and we served it a lot around the Holidays. Give it a try!!!
Now I know exactly what to do with the rest of that brioche-style pullman loaf from fresh direct I’ve got in my freezer. I was plotting some kind of savory bread pudding and this seems just perfect. I think I’ll serve it up alongside a roast chicken and steamed asparagus. Can’t get enough of this spring produce!
You got a book deal?!? It’s about freakin’ time! I’ll be the first in line to review it. And cook from it, naturally.
Ooh, and Knopf? Well played, Deb. I can’t think of anyone more deserving–or any other book I’m as excited about.
Genius. Sliced bread pudding has got to be the best thing since . . . well, sliced bread!
I made this months ago and it was delicious. I love comté, so I did increase the amount and it was great. I love your idea of doing it in a bread pan, since in a 8.5 x 11 inch pan it was messier to serve. It would add a lot of flexibility and lends itself to the various creative serving methods you describe.
Another brilliant creation, and once again, I’m thinking shitakes.
Hooray!!!! Finally, a Smitten Kitchen cookbook!! Please excuse the excessive use of exclamation marks, but I’ve been anticipating this news for a long time. Congratulations.
I’ve never been a huge fan of bread pudding, but I think this recipe may have just won me over. I am absolutely CRAZY for leeks (especially when they’re as beautifully caramelized as yours are here). I can’t wait to try this!!
This looks fantastic! I’m hoping for leeks at the market so I can give it a try! And congratulations on the book deal!
OMG I love this recipe!! It is fab although the last time I made it I tried to halve the recipe and it turned out pretty greasy. :( Super rich, we usually do it as a main with salad and fruit for dessert. Mmmm!
Leek at the first glance looks like green onion. It was a good recipe. One that I will try later. Thank you.
big congrats on the book! can’t wait to try this.
Congrats on the book!
OMG Yes yes yes! You have turned me into a leek lover (thanks to your mushroom and leek quiche and your quiche lorraine)! I can’t wait to try this.
This is beautiful………the pictures are out of this world and i am in for a savory pudding with all my fave ingredients.
That looks amazing. Must try it tonight. Yum.
I’ve been thinking of getting this book. Thanks for sharing your opinions about it. This looks great!
I love the idea of slices of bread pudding, and it seems like just the thing for a spring salad and your aforementioned drippy egg yolk. Yum!
Saw the news in Publishers’ Marketplace. So, so pleased.
I have a newfound love for leeks, especially ones that are all caramelized and stuff. And I have a longtime love for bread pudding, so this one’s getting printed out!
Mmm…I want to throw a dinner party right away so I can serve this.
Sounds intriging–can’t wait to try! Congrats on the book-so excited!
A savory pudding is a heck of a delicious and refreshing change from its sweet cousin!
And, since leeks are omnipresent here, I’ll be making this, now.
This sounds awesome! I’ve never used leeks before, but this may be a good start. Congrats on the cookbook! I can’t wait.
I love leeks and bread pudding especially. Your pictures and recipes are so inspiring. My only regret is that I went shopping before I saw your post and the shops will be closed for May Day holiday tomorrow so it’ll have to wait till next week. Sigh! Funnily, I was thinking that you really should write a cookbook – that’s amazing news, congratulations!
Ha ha. things DO taste better in season, eh? I’m DYING to try the asparagus recipes I keep seeing on people’s blogs. Our market opens tomorrow so I’m going to get some!
I’ve been making leek and mushroom bread pudding for years (with gruyere) and recently switched it up with brie (which wasn’t as tasty)…love it. What lovely leeks you found! And Jacob – still the cutest!
Oh my gosh Deb! Just heard the news about your forthcoming cookbook and had to scurry over here to offer my congratulations. I am SO thrilled for you. I’ve been following you since your pre-Smitten Kitchen days, and I truly couldn’t be happier for you.
Those of us sitting in an office on Wednesdays envy you. Also I scored some really great Pulman at the new Hester Street Fair last Saturday for $3. That and chocolate covered bacon.
This is perfect timing- my bread pudding-hating husband is away on business all of next week, and I had a few evening activities cancelled, so I really want to use my free time cooking, but cooking things he wouldn’t like as much. Leek bread pudding is definitely going on my list!! (and I love the idea of an egg on top, I’m definitely trying that)
Congrats on the cookbook! Are you going to be doing the food photography yourself, too?
hmmmmm….. was my first thought. but i’m willing to give any recipe from thomas keller a try.
i agree with you on seasonal stuff. i get all annoyed when i see blueberry tarts in bakeries, and asparagus salad, and all that jazz, in the winter. drives me bonkers, but i swear i used to not even care!
Yay, shout-out to the Cure!
Yah know I bet this will be a delicious way to use up the ramps I foraged. Ramps = Wild Leeks. I even found some morels. Perhaps those should be sauted in butter as a side dish?
A. this looks delicious. We are hitting a market this weekend. I hope some vendors have some leeks for us to buy :-)
B. I can decide if I will be ordering the cookbook ASAP or making myself wait till the end of 2012 so my husband can give me the best Christmas present EVER!
Now there is something that I would have never thought to make! How interesting. I can’t even imagine how it would taste!
I made this dish a week after I saw it on the Net, a few months ago, for a buffet dinner party. It went fast. One friend told me that after having some of it, she had to turn her back to it until it was gone or she’d have tried to eat the whole thing!
I believe her. It is that good.
BTW, someone upstream asked about substituting challah? I couldn’t find enough brioche at our local bakery (Silver Moon in Manhattan) or anywhere else, so I bought some challah and used half challah, half brioche.
Came out great.
Why have I never put bread pudding in a loaf pan? How perfect! Now you’ve got me thinking… maybe little bread pudding muffins would be a good to-go breakfast idea. I’m loving the idea of this with some crisp bacon for brunch. I also am thinking I might add in a bit of blue cheese. The combo of leeks and blue cheese makes me swoon.
You meant “white and ( light ) green parts only” as portrayed by the picture, right?
Cook book! Cool!
Everyone — Thank you! I’ve dropped a small link in the sidebar to a page where you can learn more about the book. I’m going to (over the next few days, need a moment to sit down!) answer all of your questions, or all that I can. And yes, I know 2012 is soooo long from now but I promise it will be worth it. By not rushing through this process, the photography, the design, the printing, the hope is that it will be a win for all of us: better recipes, more beautiful design, better printing and a cookbook author that didn’t miss a year of her awesome tot’s life because she was so busy scrambling to get a manuscript in. I’ve waited a long time to do a book, I just want to do it right!
Susan — Yes, that was “light” green, now edited. And thank you!
Another of those longtime lurkers, first-time commenters.. Just had to say ‘m so thrilled to hear about the book !! Now I don’t have to go racing to my laptop EVERY time I need to check the proportions and ogle the pictures as I try recipes (maybe just for the baby pictures though..) !! :)
Deb, congratulations on the cookbook! What exciting news. I can’t wait!
I didn’t even know something like this was possible! YOU BLOW MY MIND!!!!
congrats on the book!! well deserved.
You know, this didn’t sound that good (although I do love leeks) until you started talking about having it for breakfast with hashbrowns or for lunch with a salad and prosciutto. You sold me.
Congrats on the book deal! I have a question though. Your recipes aren’t originals, so what’s going to be the focus of the Smitten Kitchen cookbook? If it’s a secret, it’s ok, I can wait to find out until 2012! :)
I can picture dipping a slice of this in an egg/milk mixture and frying it in butter. Looks fantastic!
2012? 2012? are you kidding me, that’s two years away, we have to wait two more whole years, sorry……I’ll just have a glass of wine and be happy that the book is happening at all……AWESOME!!!
p.s. this recipe looks enchanting, going to make it for Sunday brunch…Monday lunch, and if there is any left over I will toast it and have it open-faced with grilled baby veggies, I am so dang excited about the book and the recipe!
p.s. excuse me, ms. dessertfortwo, what does “originals” have to do with anything, just curious? most recipes are taken from one source or another, then you do some mucking around, and *boom* yours, mine & ours. I know, right?
My niece told me about your site and how much she loves it. I was facinated by the first visit to see the leek bread. I was just up in Napa and ate at Ad Hoc, where pretty much everything is “in season” all the time, as he has a perpetual garden outside his restaurant. Fabulous garden and wonderful meal. What a concept for casual dining from Thomas. I am a food critic for the Semaphore Magazine, in North Beach here in San Francisco. I’m looking forward to cooking inspirations from you site.
Thomas Keller is such a genius – what a fantastic idea! I just made bread pudding in a loaf pan too, great minds must think alike :)
And I see from the comments that you got a cookbook deal – congrats!! How exciting!
Another longtime lurker, first time poster here. Oh yum…can’t wait to try the leek bread pudding! Sunday morning sounds good. And really looking forward to the cookbook!
Deb!!! I’m so excited about the book!
This thing looks so yummy, by the way. Would it work with rye or challah, do you think?
You’re the only one who can make me get on a bus, go to the market, and buy the ingredients, just by reading your Web site . . . and taking into the fact that I’ve already made this once before! But your version in a loaf pan is a great idea. Congratulations on the book deal. I can hardly wait.
Love this book! I’m making the scallops from it tonight but will definitely try the leek bread pudding soon.
This is exactly the kind of thing I would LOVE. My husband? “Bread pudding” are probably his two least favorite combined words. Oh well, more for me.
Although the lek bread pudding looks delish, my comment is regarding your Facebook post! Will there be a book tour, and could you maybe come out West, specifically Las Vegas? I promise to give you the inside scoop on all the best restaurants :)
I love bread pudding of any kind (well except no raisins-yuck) and have gotten extreme looks when I eat it cold…thank you, you’ve my hero. The loaf pan is a wonderful idea.
Yum yum! Leeks are one of my favorite things, what about dipping it in on a leek potato soup LOL too much?! I am definitely making this on my day off, you always bring some spark into my usual long days at the restaurant…which by the way it is dead today (Friday afternoon and has been all this week) and I am feeling pretty bump down and need a hug…may be I will just make this to feel better, it is worth the try!
This is like a strata! I love a good savory strata with bacon, eggs, scallions and cheddar cheese. I usually use regular Texas toast. This is a favorite for Christmas. I can’t wait to try the Leek version, though.
MMM! This sounds delicious! Savory bread pudding. Your book deal is exciting and I am so glad that you are going about it slow. Looking forward to the great photography and the wonderful recipes that you have provided for us. Do it correctly and it will be the new ” Joy of Cooking”! I will be the first to buy it ! Wanda
Congratulations on the book! I cook from your site like crazy, so I will definitely be in line for an all in one hardcopy rendition. (: So exciting! I have just started cooking with leeks and am in love – this bread pudding sounds fantastic!
I don’t get the ‘in season’ comment regarding the leeks. They are great in the fall and perfectly in season. How can you say April is peak leek season? My guess is the leeks at the market must be last year’s crop stored all winter long or brought in during the winter and taken out after threat of cold cold weather. Next time you are at the market ask the vendor, I am curious to find how they get them to market.
Leeks! — I stand corrected. I hadn’t realized they were more of a summer/fall thing and had ALWAYS associated them with spring. To think I could have had this bread pudding six months ago if I had, say, done a little bit of research… sigh.
I’ve never met a bread pudding that would let you slice it? Interesting…
As one who is just starting out on this journey with food and a blog, I am inspired by your recipes, pictures and your writing. Thank you so much for sharing!
Gah, I love love love this recipe. I made it once for company, and again for Easter lunch (doubled the leeks the second time). And because I am apparently the kind of internet creep that thinks “I bet Deb would totally dig this!” and almost emailed you about it. (You know, cause we’re totally on a first name basis.) Alas, I controlled my inner stalker tendencies and did not. Clearly, I am smarter than I even knew–you already had it bookmarked.
My almost MIL gave me the Ad Hoc book for my birthday Wednesday. I am only through the first chapter, but I am already in love (I’m easily seduced by braised chicken). Now if I can get myself to stay up past 10 o’clock to read it, I might have a full menu to make this weekend. (I will likely have to ship the kiddo off to g-ma’s.)
Hmm, more internet synergy as one of my other fave foodie bloggers, Tipsy Baker, is cooking her way through Ad Hoc at Home (to rave reviews from all her family).
Congratulations on the book deal! 2012 will come faster than you think so I will try to be patient! Good luck & have fun with the book prep!
A book…I can hardly wait!! Have loved your site since discovering a couple years back so the addition of a book is definitely something to look forward too and I am glad you are going slow to allow time for Jacob but I am telling you from experience there is never time until maybe they are in college so just do the best you can when you can!
Congratulations on the book! Can’t wait for it.
CRAZY. I was just experimenting yesterday with what to do with my armloads of leeks-leeks-and-more leeks…
I think that TKeller has the same problem (seeing as how we live in within an hour of each other) of leeks magically cloning themselves in the veggie drawer all year round. Shame on the NYT, though, for their aseasonal timing. They clearly don’t have your restraint, b/c this looks scrumptious! Will most definitely be making this with the umpty-million leeks I still have *after* making leek & pear soup…
And I appreciate the Cure reference. On a Friday, no less. ;)
Congrats on the book….cant wait! Heres a thought….free cheese biscuit with pre-orders? No? lol…..anyway keep up the delicious work!
This is some really cool looking bread pudding. I love leeks.
Deb, I’ve just discovered your blog and liked it a lot.
You make me remember of my old NY kitchen on 13th street.
Thank you so much!
that`s an ideal recipe!
the recipe looks lovely, but omG the book!! i have to say that in the vast sea of talented bloggers out there, you and orangette are my favorites/most-often-visited. molly’s book was so beautiful and i know yours will be too! i love how we get to know your styles and personalities through your lovely blogs, then later books emerge as tangible, glossy compilations of all your hard work. it’s almost like the cream of the crop, or the essence, of your blog archives. and there’s nothing more cozy than curling up with a cookbook/memoir by an author whose style you’ve spent years enjoying on the interwebs!
I made this for Thanksgiving this year and everyone else LOVED it… it tipped me off that I was pregnant, as I suddenly couldn’t STAND the smell of leeks, especially by dinnertime. It was a great alternative to stuffing, though, and many people asked for the recipe after dinner.
My garden doesn’t have leeks till late summer/fall? Very small wild leeks can be found growing in the wild this time of year. None the less your recipe looks wonderful.
This is a glorious looking dish.
Savoury bread and butter pudding with leek sounds amazing! Looks so rich and moist
I have actually had this bread pudding at a neighbor’s house. It was good, although a bit mild in taste for me. I do like that you baked it in a loaf pan. It makes for a much neater presentation.
Deb, I love the way your present your lovely recipes. You post just enough photos to give an idea of how to produce the dish without going overboard like some other blogs (i.e. this is the sauce without salt, now with salt added, now after 1 min. of stirring, etc. ad nauseum). Thanks for doing a great job of sharing. I’m off to buy leeks.
I love strata recipes as they are such an easy dish for entertaining. Please note that I have successfully eliminated cream to cut fat calories and substituted nonfat Greek yogurt without compromising flavor. Thanks for the lovely website and sharing your recipes and spirit.
I was just cleaning out my fridge, and guess what I have. A bundle of leeks and slices of old brioche bread! I think this will be great for Sunday brunch :)
Those leeks were certainly worth waiting for – they’re beautiful! Making a bread pudding a loaf pan and serving it in slices is inspired.
this looks awesome!! love the loaf pan idea, the pudding comes out looking so neat and tidy. Union Square on Wednesdays is fabulous, isn’t it.
I will be making this tonight along with grilled chicken breast. I do love leeks and am always looking for recipes that include them. Thanks Deb!
I find too that cutting leeks length-wise, then submerging them in H2O works great to start, but even after that I always find so much more dried (trapped) mud between the layers. So, I cut again cross-wise and resubmerge all the cut-up leeks into my salad spinner. I run my fingers through the cut-up leeks, swoosh them around a bit, and rinse twice, then spin! Sounds labor intensive, but it is not actually. And it goes quickly.
I make leek purees, soups, omelets, roast them in the oven with garlic, rosemary and potatoes, even eat them raw. So, again, thanks for the recipe. Can not wait to prepare this!
I am so happy you finally tried this! One of my all time favorites because of its versatility (as you mentioned). A favorite when something indulgent is called for breakfast. So glad you liked it!
bread pudding in slices–brilliant! i agree, wednesdays are the best at the market (was there today–sat–and it was a traffic jam). congrats on the book!
Unsliced Brioche bread is really hard to find in England, what’s the alternative?
You’re not weird – I like bread pudding cold better than warm!
I’m interested to see what others have to say about using different vegetables… I’ve never thought of a savory bread pudding, which I think would be fantastic, but leeks aren’t my favorite thing… what would be a good substitute?
I made this pudding, two days ago. Except I changed it around, considerably: I skipped the cheese, added in about a chicken-breast-and-a-half from the Roasted Chicken With Root Vegetables recipe, half a pound of very good bacon, and a bunch of asparagus, cut down and roasted with truffle oil and salt. I made it a layer of the croutons, half the chicken, half the bacon, half the asparagus, half the leeks, then repeat the layers and add in the custard.
It was possibly one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. I’m sorry the leftovers are gone, and this is after eating it for three days in a row.
Yay! This totally vindicates Thanksgiving at my house! No one I know has ever had leek bread pudding, though we just call it filling ;) I use my maternal grandmother’s recipe, granted it is much more simple (no cheese, regular onions, celery). Not sure if this is Lancaster or York County tradition (in Pennsylvania), as she lived in both places. Every Thanksgiving my mother, sister and I make extra pans of filling so we have leftovers. Also, I must say that your site is always a go-to for when I need ideas i.e. Pink Lady Cake for a certain little princess. Thanks!
A huge CONGRATULATIONS on your upcoming book Deb!! This is wonderful news!!
Fantastic!! I can’t wait to try this.
So thrilled about the upcoming book — congrats! I’ve worked in publishing and 2012 is not far off for a well-produced title, especially a heavily illustrated one. Thanks for being an inspiration for experienced and novice cooks alike!
Congrats on the book deal!
I love leeks and this looks fantastic! Can’t wait to try it – thanks for sharing.
Leeks have been on my mind for the past few weeks due to a re-run of Iron Chef where they were the featured ingredient. Morimoto made the most amazing-looking mini-tarte tatin substituting the very inner core of leek for the traditional apple. He cut the leeks into coins and then microwaved them for a few minutes to soften them slightly. Then arranged them with small dices of pineapple on top of a layer of caramel, covered with pie crust and baked them as usual. Sounded so luscious, but unexpected! Much like this bread pudding…so I thought I’d share. Cheers :)
A book! I don’t know what to say other than yippee! and I hope I had a little bit to do with it (um… sure) since I tell everyone who asks me about food or cooking about your website.
Now I know what everyone will be getting for Christmas in 2012. So exciting!
Congratulations on the book!!!
This savory pudding looks delicious. Thank you very much.
This looks delicious. Perfect for a spring picnic.
Okay, so I made this and it looked very small in the 9x 13″ pan so I checked the Keller recipe and discovered that you cut his recipe in half but called for putting it in the same size pan. I switched pans 10 minutes into the bake
Nom! I just made this and it was fabulous! The only thing I changed was that instead of brioche, I made it with Challah bread cubes because that’s what the store had. Next time I’ll double the amount of leeks as well because I’m bonkers for them. Thanks for bringing this faboo recipe into my life!
I recently made an asparagus bread pudding and it was amazing. I love the idea that you bake this in a loaf pan. I’m making it for my husband’s birthday dinner!
Long time devotee, first time commenting. I made this today, and my husband and I were doing that Snuffles-the-dog thing where you hug yourself and float up in the air. We have Sunday supper standards: it should make the house smell good all afternoon (prepping the leeks, check); it should be comforting, since tomorrow is Monday (check); and in a perfect scenario, it should be something never tried before that turns out to be a keeper. Score!
YUMMO!! I love Ad Hoc at Home and have been dying to try this recipe. Yours sounds delicious. My mouth is watering.
I love your site and think you do a terrific job – THANK YOU. I made this slaw but being an “over the top” flavor fiend I found it needed more creative ingredients, to my taste. Since it doesn’t have Mayo to bind the dressing to the cabbage, nor can it sit and soak for long with the spinach, I felt it needed to pack a stronger punch initially. I added more lime juice than called for and then in my mini processor I blended Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, a bit more Cumin, 1 tsp. each Cholula Seasoning (Chilli Roast Garlic) and Chipotle Chili Powder, 2 T honey and 2 tsp. Tamari to bind the flavors. I felt it was a good addition and thought you might be interested in these flavors as well…THANKS for an amazing site!
OMG…I don’t know HOW my comment posted here…it was headed for the new Slaw with Peanuts???
I made this yesterday and it was delicious. However, it was very soggy in the middle. My hubby and I ate all the outsides which were crispy golden and neither of us were interested in eating the guts. Looking back at this, I think my bread cubes were a bit larger than the ones pictured. Could the size of the bread cubes be reason for the sogginess?
This was DELICIOUS!! Mine turned out kind of custard-y, but I think I was a bit shy of the 6 c. of bread. I do have to say that my store was out of leeks, so I substituted green onions (gasp!), but it turned out great, just the same. Next time, I’ll make sure I have enough bread so I can have a nice slice rather than a pile on the plate!
I just came across your blog while searching devils food/ding dong cupcake recipies. It’s beautiful, and I love your tone- I’ll keep reading! Thank you!
I don’t know if anybody else has mentioned this, Deb, but I love the fact that you slip a picture of Jacob into each and every post. His chubby little face makes each reading just that much better!
So interesting. Sounds like quite the savory dish. I just cooked with leeks last week. A great spring time food. I like the idea of bacon and a fried egg with it for brunch. Yum!
I haven’t had a chance to try this yet, but was inspired to make leek and mushroom pasta last night after reading this post. Yum!
And then I randomly stumbled across this blog post today, featuring your recipe! It must be a sign that I must cook my leeks into bread pudding right away. :) http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/slinks/leek-bread-pudding-and-a-guide-to-choosing-chopsticks-delicious-links-for-542010-115993
You are really talented Simple yet effective. Nice!!! Great thanks
I made this recipe two nights ago and served it with baked yams.
It was delicious. I didn’t have the right cheese so I used to different
cheddars, one that was sharp and the other an aged, English cheddar.
I didn’t have fresh chives so I used dry one’s and fresh thyme…what
a wonderful recipe. It is so moist and I’m thinking I will grill the leftover
slices on a griddle with a little butter. I’m going to serve the leek and bread pudding at our bistro’s sunday brunch with Roasted, Bone-In Chicken Breasts and fresh asparagus. So much better than the sausage-corn bread stuffing I was
thinking of serving. Thanks!
Oh my. This looks awesome. . .
I found myself in the position of having to cook for a date (a fellow who cooks for a living, no less) for the first time. I decided to whip this up using day-old brioche and some wild ramps mixed in with the leeks. It turned out splendidly – almost too pretty to slice into. We topped it with fried egg for extra yolky goodness!
I used a pullman loaf and followed the recipe to a T. While it tasted amazing, it would not slide out of the loaf pan, and even slices were a dream not realized. I scooped it out and we gobbled it up. Any tips for next time?
Leek is so good for you. But I would use it in salad and Chinese food. This is a great recipe.
I tried the recipe last week but substituted low fat buttermilk for the heavy cream. It came out perfectly lovely and made me feel a little bit better about eating bread pudding for 3 meals in a row.
I was psyched to find this recipe since I am always looking for new ways to use leeks. My mom’s garden always yields a large leek crop and I am lucky enough that she always grows enough for me too. I urge you to keep this in the winter or fall section though and not spring. By spring, the only leeks available in northern Vermont are the ones that have made it through the winter in the fridge. The are ready to harvest in fall, which is when I start to get the motherlode of leeks. I know in some places, people leave them in the ground all winter, then harvest what is left in the spring when few other veggies are available.
I did a double recipe of this on Sunday for Mother’s Day with the following modifications: (1) used comte cheese and about twice as much as doubled recipe called for; (2) used an extra 1/2 cup of leeks; and (3) added more than a pinch of nutmeg. The recipe was a big hit. When making it in the future, I will add more milk and maybe another egg to increaes the liquid – the bread pudding seemed a litte too dry. Thanks for the unique recipe, Deb!
Oh! Also had to substitute the recommended bread with sourdough because that is all I could find – still turned out great!
I took this out from the library and this was one of the only recipes I managed before it went back (renewing was out of the question; there was of course a wait list). This was fabulous. I love leeks, and being a big amateur baker, I love bread and using up my loaves in bread pudding. This was incredibly rich though–I definitely had some heartburn. I thought it was pregnancy related at first, but considering I did not have another heartburn episode until MUCH later in my pregnancy, I think it was the pudding. That being said, I’d make it again in a heartbeat.
Hi Deb! I made this last night and it was delicious – I couldn’t believe how good my apartment smelled from the minute the leeks hit the pan. While flavor was not compromised, my dish ended up looking quite different from yours, however. I cooked it for about an hour and 15 minutes, but it was still much more runny inside than yours seems from the pictures. No complaints, as I was expecting pudding anyway, but I’m definitely going to be testing it again to try and figure out what happened (ha, good excuse right?)! Thanks for the post and good luck with the book – I am so looking forward to reading it.
hi Deb – thanks for this amazing recipe! i made this today for a ‘brunchy’-lunch for my parents and housemates. i did it alongside another one of yours – the spring asparagus pancetta hash (also great!), with a poached egg ontop. whilst it was a bit of an egg overload (if there is such a thing?) it was delicious! i too was unable to achieve the perfect sliced loaf effect that you managed to pull off, but the gooey innards were still great and, i thought, actually made a nice contrast with the crunchy toasted bits on top. thanks again!
hi Deb – thanks for this amazing recipe! i made it as a ‘brunchy’-lunch for my parents and housemates today. i did it alongside another one of yours – the spring asparagus pancetta hash (also great!), with a poached egg on top. it worked really well – despite being a bit of an egg overload (is there such a thing?). i too was unable to achieve the perfect sliced loaf effect that you managed to pull off but the gooey innards were still delicious and, i thought, provided a nice contrast to the crunchy, toasted bits on top. thanks again!
I tried this one last night, and I was super excited about it since I love leeks. I don’t know if it was the bread I used or what but I didn’t really enjoy it like I had hoped. Maybe it’s just the concept of bread pudding in general – it was too mushy.
Wow oh wow…I made this a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say that I dream about it still. I was a little short in terms of regular loaf bread, but fortunatly I had half a brioche I’d made a few months ago to make up the deficit. So, the bread component was about 2/3 pullman, 1/3 brioche. I used almost twice as many leeks as was specified, and instead of any of the cheeses you called for in the recipe, I used pre-grated tub parmesan I’d been neglecting in the back of the fridge. Additionally, I forgot to get heavier stuff at the store, so I substituted 2% milk for the cream or half-and-half, but added an additional egg yolk into the mix. Unbelievable, incredible, and gone in a day and a half. THANK YOU SO MUCH for my new favorite special thing to eat!
Can this be assembled the night before, soaked overnight in the fridge, then baked in the morning like overnight French toast? Also, any suggestions for avoiding the wet/undercooked interior that several posts have mentioned?
Janine — You might add more bread cubes or use a stiffer bread so it absorbs more liquid. I didn’t have this problem so I’m guessing… you may not have it either. You can definitely soak it overnight.
I have to admit that I’ve made this three times for various brunch events in the last four weeks. Each time, I’ve readied it, put it in the fridge covered, and baked it the next morning with great results. The first time I made it was significantly better than the second and I can’t figure out why. The things I changed on the second go-’round SHOULD have been better but they weren’t: I used a fancier loaf of bread from a local organic market; I remembered the butter step; I wasn’t short on leeks. I’m making it for the third time tonight and I’ve gone back to the original way I made it (no butter, fewer leeks, cheap chain store bread). That first round was one of the most wonderful brunch dishes I’ve ever experienced! Fingers crossed for tomorrow.
So I posted on 4/30 that i was going to make this and then didn’t get around to it until yesterday. We received leeks in our CSA two weeks ago and they were dying a slow death in our fridge. Unacceptable. So I broke this recipe out of hiding.
This was fabulous. We only had 2% milk in the house so took the recommendation of adding an extra yolk. Also used whole wheat bread from the market instead of brioche. Delicious. I told my husband that it was like eating thanksgiving dressing. Wonder if I can talk my MIL into adding this to our thanksgiving meal :-)
i am sitting here eating a slice of leek bread pudding. it is so good that i felt compelled to compliment your recipe right away. amazing!
I made this today, and it was fab. As i didnt have 9X5 pan, i checked web and found out 9′ pie tray would be as good. so made it as a pie than a loaf. so here is the verdict. It kept its texture even as a pie, was not undercooked underneath, and took exact 60 minte to come to “top brown and bubbling” stage.
this looks amazing!
could I prep all ingredients a day ahead of time?
Mine wasn’t exactly as pretty and sliceable as yours. I’m wondering if it’s because I used 2% milk (not enough fat to get the custard to really solidify) or if it’s because I take out the pudding before it’s all the way done. Either way, it tastes marvelous! I rendered some bacon fat and used it in place of the butter and layered in the chopped pieces of bacon. I also subbed blue cheese for the comte. Next time I go a little more heavy handed on the blue, as I thought the stronger cheese might overwhelm…though it did not.
A keeper even with the kiddie set! Used stale sourdough bread and served it for dinner with Nettle soup. Next time I’ll use baking parchment so it will prettily pop out of pan. I skipped (forgot) step where you let soak the first half of bread and milk and instead layered it all in and then sloshed the milk/cream mixture, so let it rest a bit longer. I really like how it does NOT have to soak overnight like most stradas. Not organized enough to do that….
I made this tonight and it is fantastic. I am already trying to figure out when I should make this again. Thank you so much for this fantastic recipe.
Just made this tonight. Rediculously beautiful buttery smell and perfect taste. It’s kind of an adaptation of a Quiche. Simple beautiful. I added some white miso to my cream mixture before pouring it onto the bread for some more depth. Thank you for this wonderful idea.
Make this for Thanksgiving. It is honestly the BEST “alternative” stuffing ever. We’ve been making it for a few years now, and everyone just raves about it.
I want to make this for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving… Do you think it would be possible to make this a day in advance and then re-heat it in the morning? I’d prefer it to be warm, but I dont want it to dry out…
It should reheat just fine.
I made this on Sunday and it turned out exactly as pictured above. So delicious! What I liked even better, though, was the next day–I put the remaining slices in a dry skillet over medium heat (no oil/butter needed, as brioche contains plenty of butter) until golden brown on each side. I liked it before, but I LOVED it with even more yummy crust on each slice. It helped it stand up the roast & gravy we served it with so it didn’t get too soggy. Delicious! Will definitely make again. Thanks for another keeper!
A friend of mine hosts an annual potluck with a “theme vegetable”. This year was leeks. Three of us brought this bread pudding. And they were all good. :)
Amy — Three? That is awesome. I hope none of them lasted.
I made this tonight as I just happened to have all the ingredients. It was phenomenal. I used a 8 X 8 pan, french bread & cheddar cheese (because that’s what I had on hand) & it turned out beautiful!
This is delicious! I’ve been trying to use up ingredients in case we lose power during Frankenstorm, so the milk, eggs, and stale bread went into the leeks, chives and thyme from the garden (dodging raindrops to harvest them). I had a whole grain artisan loaf from Costco, sharp cheddar and Parmesan, so that’s what I used…I’d love to try it with white bread and swiss, but this is GREAT! Happy dance! Thanks Deb!
I made this this weekend for my Mom in individual ramekins, to huge success. Upon the suggestion of my produce gal I subbed ramps for the leeks, and then added mushrooms and bacon, and it was fabulous. And we ate it cold. It was fabulous. Thanks!
Can this be made ahead the frozen for later?
Jonelli — I haven’t tried it but suspect it would freeze well.
Deb, I just wanted to say thank you for giving me an adult twist on the ‘stratas’ I grew up with – that combine most of the food groups, are easy and healthyish, use up stuff in the fridge – but that look sophisticated enough that my partner will, you know, actually eat it.
(I don’t think he ever ate “creamed peas on toast” growing up, either. Sometimes my childhood food recollections remind me that my mother’s repertoire was a classic example of postwar mainstream North America … and not always in a good way.)
Is it delusional to hope this might work with matzah?
I haven’t tried it, but … it would certainly would be more tasty than your average matzo kugel. The thing is, this is mostly bread, and that bread soaks up the milk. There’s no a lot of egg to hold it together. Most matzo kugels have no milk or liquid, but a lot of eggs. So, adjustments would be needed if you wanted this to bake into something sliceable, I’d think.
Looks delicious. I am going to make if for Easter Brunch. Do you think gruyere would work well? Or is a more subtle cheese better? I don’t want to overwhelm the other flavors.
Gera — I think gruyere would work just fine. It’s a natural swap for Comté, Emmanthaler or Swiss cheeses in most recipes.
So interesting. Sounds like quite the savory dish. I just cooked with leeks last week. A great spring time food. I like the idea of bacon and a fried egg with it for brunch. Yum!
Can you prepare the day before and bake the next morning?
Was going to make your delicious spinach and cheese stratafor christmas morning, but this looks wonderful too! But would it survive a night in the fridge.
Melanie, Joanne — I definitely think so.
I was so excited to make this, it’s the most beautiful bread pudding I’ve ever seen. I just tried it and followed the recipe exactly, but my loaf doesn’t look like yours. It’s still pretty runny and isn’t holding together like yours (like a loaf of bread). Do you have any suggestions? Should I have baked longer? Reduce the cream? I really want to try this again, but not sure where I went wrong.
Kristina — I am pretty sure I sliced this one on the second day, so it might be a little more settled and solid than it had been on the first.
I wanted to tell you that this is brilliant. Cold slices are so tasty.
Making this as an Easter side tomorrow. Using a sourdough baguette and kicking in some cayenne and white pepper for a kick. Excited! Ps. Love the site.
This recipe was on the newsletter … maybe 2 weeks ago. I marked it to try and made it in lieu of stuffing for my Thanksgiving dinner – it was my favorite side! I used my own sourdough bread and gruyere cheese. In addition to great flavor, mine looked just like yours :). I am off to poach and egg to have with some leftover.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore brioche. But I make this with a local cracked wheat sourdough and I think it adds a lot of both texture and flavor to the finished product..
Do not skip the 15 minute soaking! The result did ultimately taste delicious but took forever to cook and looked scary. :)
So, I’m planning to make this for Thanksgiving again, as it was the biggest hit the time I did. But since it was scarfed down in 2 seconds flat, I’d like to double it, but I’m always confused about doubling the salt portions – of which I probably don’t add enough anyway. So, how much salt do you think if I’m doubling it?
Also – freeze before or after it is cooked?
I think it could!
I am SO excited to make this for my veggie Thanksgiving! Do you think this will cook well in a Bundt pan with the doubled recipe? I love the neatness of the slices and don’t think my 9×13 will produce quite the nice results.
I’d think so and it would look lovely! Hope it’s a hit.
So we sauté the leek in a dry pan for the first five minutes? They won’t stick? It feels risky, but I’ll take your word for it!
I made a large version of this for Thanksgiving yesterday. Absolutely amazing, one of the best dishes of the meal. I’ve made it a few times before as well. Typical reaction goes from “huh, a savory bread pudding?” to “this is the best thing ever.”
I like to include some (very very slow cooked) onions or shallots as well. I also like to chop up the leeks a little more after they’re done sautéing, that way there’s a bit of leek in every bite rather than some bites with no leeks and and some bites with a giant chunk of leek.
For cheese I like to do a mix of gruyère and comté.
I find that I tend to always end up with insufficient cream/milk mixture to cover the bread, and then I have to scramble to make some more. Now I just make more cream mixture than I think I need, I’d rather have too much than too little.
I made this last night for a dinner party to go along with a soup. It was SO good. I just wonder though how I should get it out of the pan? It completely fell apart when I took it out and looked more like scrambled eggs :). But it was still delicious!
This was *just* what I was looking for! Thank you! I admit I was cranky, because I prefer my measurements in reliable weight rather than variable volume, but I did my best estimates and the result fit *perfectly* into my 9×5 loaf pan. The loaf pan made it particularly attractive in serving (especially if you let it settle after it comes out of the oven). Used a local raclette for the cheese, some in-season ramps rather than chives.
How did I not see this recipe before today?! Anyway, I’m hosting 22 for Thanksgiving and wondered if this could be made ahead and frozen.
Thanks for all your amazing recipes… you are a family favorite!
I think it could!