Savory bread puddings with sherry-roasted butternut squash A super-delicious and easy bread pudding recipe for the holidays
Bread pudding is usually thought of as a dessert, but…
… it can easily be turned into a savory dish that is most satisfying. Today’s bread pudding is made with butternut squash that has been roasted in sherry. The sherry brings out the sweetness of the squash, while the roasting deepens its flavor – a marvelous balance is achieved!
Brioche bread pudding: The right bread makes all the difference.
The bread pudding itself is made with brioche. This feather-weight, buttery bread makes for the lightest, moistest bread pudding you’ll ever taste. Needless to say, I do not recommend substituting it.
As a last touch, I love baking the bread pudding in individual molds – this way they can be un-molded before serving, and end up looking as good as they taste.
A great vegetarian alternative for Thanksgiving!
If you have a vegetarian family member or friend coming over for the holidays, you can serve this bread pudding in lieu of the turkey or other meat. It’s hearty enough to make a main course, and it goes magnificently with this cranberry compote and two or three of these tasty side veggies.
Food & wine pairing: Régnié or Chiroubles, Beaujolais, with butternut squash bread pudding
Although the classic pairings with butternut squash are full-bodied, aromatic whites (think Riesling, Viognier or Gewürztraminer); a medium-bodied, not-overly-fruity red works wonderfully here too… especially if you serve the bread puddings as a main course, with a couple of side vegetables. Indeed, a Beaujolais from Régnié or Chiroubles – two crus which produce lighter-style Beaujolais – pairs beautifully with the roasted squash and the savory notes in the bread puddings. Of course, a Burgundy-style Pinot Noir works well too.
Savory bread puddings with sherry-roasted butternut squash
active time: 45 min
For the squash
- 2 1/2 lbs (1.1 kg) butternut squash – peeled, seeded and cut in 1″ cubes (6 cups)
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup medium-dry sherry
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the pudding
- 2 extra large eggs
- 1 extra large egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 8 oz (170 g) brioche – cut in 3/4″ cubes
- 4 oz (225 g) aged Gruyère, Comté or Emmental – coarsely grated
- 1 medium (15″ x 10″ x 3″) (5.25QT) non-stick roasting pan
- 6 porcelain ramekins (8-ounce capacity) – buttered and floured
- Preheat oven to 475 ºF (245 ºC).
- Step 1: Place the squash cubes in the roasting pan. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and drizzle with the sherry and oil. Toss well with your hands and spread in a single layer. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and toss with wooden spoons. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until golden-brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Reduce oven to 375 ºF (190 ºC).
- Step 2: Place the eggs, egg yolk, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk until well blended. Add the milk and cream and whisk again until well blended. Add the bread cubes and stir well. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until the bread has absorbed most of the liquids. Add the cheese and roasted butternut squash. Stir until just incorporated, being careful not to break the squash pieces. Spoon in the prepared molds and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the bread puddings are golden-brown and puffed up. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before un-molding.
- Cook’s note: The bread puddings can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. To serve, bring to room temperature and reheat at 375 °F (190 °C) for 7 to 8 minutes until warm.
- If you can’t find brioche, I recommend using another light white bread. Make sure not to use a heavier bread (even Challah is too heavy!) or the puddings will turn out dry and stodgy.