Can you believe it is already April? As the year marches on, so do our sources of inspiration in the kitchen, and on this first day, we cook for the April foolish. Do you have anyone in mind? I’m not going to name names, but if you’re having dinner here tonight then expect the unexpected. Not to worry, this is not Fear Factor style—I’m not much on serving bugs for entertainment—rather a challenge to create the unconventional from everyday ingredients.
My last April Fool’s menu was a play on a classic, with cheeseburger empanadas, buns be damned! This year, if I told you we were having bread pudding for dinner . . . well, then that would be correct! Usually reserved for an after dinner sweet-tooth, but this bread pudding boasts a savory surprise—BACON (maple bacon to be specific). Really it’s not all that farfetched; how many times at breakfast does your crispy bacon end up in your waffle syrup?
So wait, now it’s dinner made from dessert AND breakfast? Yes, and it’s confusingly delicious!
Bread pudding is a base of cubed leftover bread, eggs, milk and sugar (I always think of it as a deconstructed French toast). Our version will have a savory twist, using crip bacon, a little parmesan cheese & thyme. We keep a hint of sweet with a touch of maple syrup, half & half, and dash of cinnamon. This all somewhat reminds me of a breakfast casserole, but this time I’m making in single-serve ramekins (which speeds-up our cooking time, and you don’t have to share). It sounds weird, but for some reason it just works.
Time for our palates to get Punk’d!
- leftover loaf sourdough bread (whole, we will use ~4 cups cubed)
- 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 5 sliced maple bacon (cooked crispy & chopped roughly)
- 4 T shredded parmesan cheese blend
- 2 cups half & half (or whole milk)
- 2 tsps maple syrup (and more for drizzling tops)
- ¼ tsp white sugar
- ½ tsp sea salt
- pinch of ground black pepper
- 4 dashes dried thyme leaves
- 2 dashes ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter/grease 2 medium, oven-safe ramekins (I used 2x 18-oz in size)
- Cube day old sourdough loaf into ~1 inch cubes (1/2 used for each ramekin)
- Chop pre-crisped bacon roughly (1/2 will be used for each ramekin)
- In a mixing bowl whisk eggs, half & half, syrup, sugar, salt, pepper, thyme, cinnamon & parmesan cheese.
- In each ramekin, layer bread and bacon, so evenly distributed (1/2 of both in each ramekin for 2).
- Slowly pour over ½ the egg mixture over bread, into each of 2 ramekins.
- Let sit for 15 minutes, so bread can absorb more mixture.
- Drizzle tops lightly with syrup & a pinch of sea salt, baking for ~35 mins in oven, until lightly browned & crusty on top, and bread pudding pulls away from edges of ramekin slightly.
- Cool and serve warm with another drizzle of maple syrup on top as desired, and a garnish with fresh thyme leaves if you have them!
Sweet & salty. A crave-worthy dinner dichotomy, for family, friends, or even the fools in your life—Happy April One!