Mushroom, Corn and Chevre Bread Pudding
Recipe courtesy of Chef Robbie Wood, Georges' of Tybee, Savannah, Ga.
Yield: 24 portions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Large onions, diced
4 cups (about 12 ounces) cleaned, sliced white or crimini mushrooms
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 pounds crusty bread
2 Ears corn
1 cup Madeira wine
2 quarts heavy cream
12 Large eggs
4 Large egg yolks
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) chèvre (soft goat cheese)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Grease or spray a full hotel pan and set it inside a larger roasting pan.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, caramelize the onions in the oil, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and garlic and stir until caramelized.
If the bread has a thick crust, cut it off and grind it to make the breadcrumbs. Or, use the end pieces for crumbs. Dice the bread into ½-inch cubes and set aside in a large bowl. Cut the corn from the cobs and milk the cobs; set aside.
When the mushroom mixture is nicely caramelized, add the corn and any juice, stirring quickly, and then deglaze the pan with the Madeira. Simmer the liquid to reduce it slightly, then add the cream. Let the cream simmer for about 5 minutes to infuse it. Pour the mixture over the bread and set it aside to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Whisk together the eggs, yolks, salt, and pepper. Quickly fold the egg mixture into the cooled bread mixture. Pour the pudding batter into the prepared pan and cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Pour very hot water into the larger pan to reach halfway up the sides of the pudding pan. Bake the pudding at 300 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the center is set and not liquidy. Remove the pans from the oven, leave the pudding in the larger pan, and let it cool while you raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Mix the chèvre and herbs together and spread or sprinkle them evenly over the bread pudding. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the cheese and put the hotel pan into the top of the oven for about 10 minutes, until browned evenly (or under a broiler for about 5 minutes). Let the pudding cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Or, to order: Top each serving with 1/2 ounce herbed cheese and 2 teaspoons breadcrumbs and reheat in a 400-degree oven or under a salamander.