I’ve been putting this recipe off for months! I was supposed to do this from August, but here we are in November. I don’t know what happened or why this lost it’s appeal for me. Maybe it’s the fact that it uses so much bread that made me keep putting it off because I’ve cut bread out of my diet since going Keto. And the last bread pudding recipe I tried from Joanna’s cookbook was a little underwhelming, so I think all of that is what contributed to me not trying this recipe for so long.
One day I decided to stop putting it off and just do it! I ran to the store for some French bread and the test of the ingredients were already in the fridge. The recipe originally calls for Boursin cheese, but that's not practical for me to obtain so I had to find a substitute. I had crumbled Gorgonzola in the fridge, so I used that. I had just gotten new ramekins on sale from JoAnn’s so I was excited to use those. The recipe gives 50-55 minutes cooking time and trust me, that’s a little modest. It took me an hour just to get it in the oven before the 15 minute baking time. Egg bread puddings are a lot of work, because you need the bread to absorb most of the egg moisture and I also had to cook the bacon first (the recipe also originally called for sausage but I had more bacon than sausage and went with that).
I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but what came out of that oven was a gift from heaven! This is by far THE best breakfast recipe from the Magnolia Cookbook. I know I had given that title to the Eggs Benedict Casserole, but this was just SOOOOOOO good! Mum loved it, and so did bae (I’m still waiting on my dish back). There’s nothing Keto about this, but it packs a punch in flavour and it’s satisfyingly fulling!
Baked Egg Bread Pudding with Spinach Cheese & Bacon
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 50 - 55 minutes
Butter, for ramekins
1 cup half-and-half
6 large eggs
4 ounces French bread (torn into bite sized pieces about 4 cups)
4 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
3 ounces baby spinach
3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
2 teaspoons minced chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter four 10-ounce ramekins and set them on a rimmed baking sheet for ease of handling.
In a large bowl, whisk together the half-and-half and 2 of the eggs. Add the bread and stir to coat. Let stand until needed, stirring occasionally to help the bread absorb the liquid.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a medium bowl. Pour off all but about 2 teaspoons of the fat and reduce the heat to medium-low.
Stir the shallot into the skillet and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 2 minutes.
Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until lightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir into the bread mixture.
Add the cheese, chives 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and reserved bacon to the bread mixture and mix well. It's fine if some of the cheese is in marble-sized pieces.
Divide the mixture among the ramekins and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the ramekins from the and crack an egg on top of each one. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue baking until the egg whites are set, 20-25 minutes more. Serve at once.