Savory Mushroom and Asiago Bread Pudding

Company coming for the holidays? This make-ahead brunch recipe will feed eight hungry guests. Serve it with a fresh fruit salad and coffee or tea. For a more festive beverage, open a chilled bottle of Champagne or prosecco, pour into flutes or wine glasses, and add a splash of fresh orange juice for mimosas.

Savory Mushroom and Asiago Bread Pudding

Serves 8

  • 10 cups cubed (3/4-inch pieces) crust-on Italian or French bread (10 to 12 ounces)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • Three 4-ounce packages fresh sliced exotic mushrooms or 12 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3-1/2 cups whole milk, half and half or combination of the two
  • 1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
  • Thyme sprigs (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until light golden brown and bread is dry, about 12 minutes. Transfer the cubes to a very large bowl.

3. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion and sauté 10 to 12 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Stir in thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and sauté 1 minute longer. Transfer to bowl with the bread cubes and mix well.

4. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter and set aside. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Whisk in mustard, then milk and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Whisk in melted butter, pour over ingredients in the large bowl and mix well. Spread mixture into a buttered 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish or shallow 3-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the mixture, cover and refrigerate over night.

5. In the morning, uncover casserole and place in a cold oven, then heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the casserole until set and the top is puffed and golden brown, about 55 minutes (could take up to an additional 15 minutes, depending on how quickly your oven gets up to temperature). Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with thyme sprigs if desired.