Thursday, May 22, 2008

Brunch bread pudding says 'cheese'

Spring posies were in glorious array in southern New Hampshire where I attended a writers’ conference last weekend. Creative energy blossomed forth there also, with poets and writers of both fiction and nonfiction sharing their best work.

At the workshop on food writing, presenter Rachel Forrest entertained us with tales of her experiences as restaurant critic and reporter on the local food scene. As food and dining editor for Seacoast Media Group in Portsmouth, restaurant critic for The Portsmouth Herald, and columnist and radio commentator, Rachel has a wealth of knowledge. Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and Internet publications. (For info, check out, or

She also brought some goodies for us to sample – an olive oil crisp bread, chocolate pizzelle, and chunks of piquant aged Parmesan. Of course, my one-track mind immediately turned to bread pudding. Wondering how I could include these items in a bread pudding creation, or at least serve them as an aside.

Later at home I found a terrific brunch recipe that features Parmesan cheese along with some Brie and pork sausage. The recipe source, The Life of the Party cookbook, published by the Junior League of Tampa, calls it a soufflĂ©, but we know better – it’s really a bread pudding in disguise.

This one’s for you, Rachel. Thanks for the inspiration!

(from The Life of the Party, by the junior League of Tampa Culinary Collection, 2003)

6 slices white bread
1 pound hot bulk pork sausage, browned, drained
3/4 pound Brie cheese, rind removed, cubed
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 eggs
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups milk
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 eggs
1 cup whipping cream

Trim crusts from bread slices and place crusts evenly on bottom of lightly greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Layer bread slices, sausage, Brie, and Parmesan in baking dish. Whisk 5 eggs and 2 cups whipping cream in bowl. Add milk, sage, seasoned salt, and dry mustard; mix well. Pour over bread layers. Chill, covered, for 8 hours. Whisk 2 eggs and 1 cup whipping cream in bowl. Pour over prepared layers. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour or until center is set and knife inserted in center comes out clean. You may substitute half & half for whipping cream. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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