First, VDog did it, adapting this NYT recipe, and I got to sample her Savory Bread Pudding with sausage.
It was NOM, and I decided it was the lovechild of quiche and french bread pizza.
Then, I read CityMama's entry on bread puddings, and I decided I'd have to make a Panettone one, too. (Her entry is really great: bullet points & basics. Mine's more conversational.)
I made a Caprese-style one, mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes. Topped with feta! It was delish.
Next, I had friends over, and we made a triple batch: one 9x9 pan of Panettone, and two 12-muffin tins: one Caprese-style, and one sweet one with egg nog substituted for the cream. They were all FAHbulous.
The other night, I finally got to make what had been brewing since that first taste: Deluxe Pizza - style Bread Pudding!
And, holy gadzooks, you guys, this is over the top delicious.
I used the end of a small-diameter "San Luis Sourdough" loaf, and the last of the Pugliese, which I'd been saving in the fridge since Caprese #1. We'll disregard that being over two weeks ago. ;p
I'll say 10 slices of the small sourdough, four per layer plus one torn up to fill in the cracks.
You'll also need: about 1/2 each, onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper. Feel free to use more if you wish.
1 small (tiny!) can tomato paste
2 cups half and half [my grocery store was all out, so I mixed milk and heavy cream]
~1.5 cups cheese, I used mozzarella and a bit of cheddar, pre-grated (2 lb. bags are pretty cheap, especially on sale)
1/2 package Gallo pepperoni (about 4 servings or 35 slices)
(I'm planning to make a vegetarian version for a friend, with sliced black olives instead of pepperoni)
Spray your pan with non-stick stuff, or grease it with butter.
Dice all your vegetables.
Arrange the bread in the bottom of the pan
Distribute half the vegetables evenly in the pan
Place 25 slices of pepperoni in a slightly overlapping, 5x5 configuration
Sprinkle half the cheese over.
For the second layer of bread, spread each piece with a thick smear of tomato paste.
Manage to use the whole can with the aid of the skinny spatula.
Layer the next 10 pieces of pepperoni so they don't touch. Feel free to use more if you'd rather, or substitute sausage--I wanted to put sausage in this, but couldn't find any pre-cooked nubs and didn't feel like cooking it from scratch.
Add the cheese, then the vegetables: having all those onions and peppers get caramelly from the direct heat exposure is Awesome.
Once all the ingredients are arranged, turn on your oven to 350, scramble your eggs, add cream, and mix it up.
Very, very carefully, pour your mixture into the pan. I might even do this after the first layer in the future, because I had some spill over the edges and onto the counter, despite my best slow-pouring intent. The wall of pepperoni is almost certainly to blame. This hasn't happened with any of my other puddings.
(That is, pour half the mixture in after the first layer, and the rest after the second layer.)
I use a pourable measuring cup to help with the gentleness. It works especially well when making things in the muffin tins.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.
I imagine you could use 1.5x the ingredients, and make this in a 9x13 pan. The 9x9 pan yields 4-8 servings, we got 6 this time. Serve with a hearty side salad to feed more people.