Monday, May 6

Very Berry Breakfast Bread Pudding: A delightful Savory Make ahead Brunch

Very Berry Bread Pudding with Sausage

Its 7am approx my husband has strolled in from a long night of work. I am sitting with my coffee totally excited (grinning ear to ear) about what I had just made. I tell him the name of the newest recipe. He eyes me suspiciously... I see a quick grimace and a scowl in the direction of the oven, as if it is the oven's fault.  He turns and asks, "Is it sweet?" 

Please note, my husband does not like bread pudding, so I was obviously clinging to a limb here far above the ground, in hopes he might like it anyways. How did I miss that he didn't like bread pudding? I didn't. I was busy entertaining delightful visions in my head, of how much I adored my thanksgiving bread pudding, made with leftover homemade citrus-y cranberry sauce. Thus jumping head first into this this savory dish without really thinking about anything else, including my dear sweet husband. You should’ve saw me dance around the bush when trying to describe the cheesy, meaty, eggy wonderfulness of the food. See that... I tried to point out all the things I thought he would be interested in. Eggs check. Meat double check. Cheesy good. I was clearly beating around the bush as it were and after almost 10 years of marriage he so saw the signs too. I was able to answer truthfully. It wasn't sweet. The only thing remotely sweet was the earthy, semi-sweet, semi-tart, scattered, whole blackberries. Those berries that turned into warm juicy bits were pushed aside on his plate. I love how the berries stayed whole but were completely heated through and tasted like homemade jam. Unbelievably good! Yet despite the berries, my patient husband devoured seconds. So even if you don’t like bread pudding - try this one. I added more meat than I probably should’ve, but since I began painting like crazy at our new house my growling stomach has been dictating the meals. 

Making it. Totally Easy. I made the dough for the bread on a Sunday afternoon. The dough took approx 5 minutes to make. Super quick and easy. Covered it, and threw it in the fridge. When I had time on Tuesday I baked the bread.  On Wednesday I let the bread still out and dry out a little bit. Wednesday night I threw the dish together and covered it and put it in the fridge. This part took about about 15 minutes because I had to grill the sausages and that took a few minutes. The next morning I pulled the dish out of the fridge and let it come to room temp while my coffee was brewing and then popped it into the oven after 20 minutes. It still felt cold to me but I couldn’t wait any longer. Baking time was 40 minutes and then letting it sit for 5 minutes is super important for making nice even slices or squares.The longer you let it sit the easier it will be to cut.  So it is a  bunch of little easy steps but it is homemade which makes me feel good about feeding it to my family. 

My inspiration came from a website & recipe by Karen Miner at - there is a interesting version of ham and cheese bread pudding there. This was my first time making a savory bread pudding - I am totally hooked :) 

This serves 4 adults. 

1 small loaf of whole grain bread - or half of a whole grain  berry bread recipe,  dried out
3 eggs
1 cup of 2% milk
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp herbes de Provence, salt free
1/8 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt, 
1/8 tsp pepper
butter - for the baking dish
2 green onions, finely diced to mix in or use as a garnish - your choice
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese *
1/2 small pkg of blackberries (approx 8 berries) 
1 tsp dried parsley
3 sweet Italian sausages grilled and then sliced into round chunks and then quartered**

*I used cheddar, shredded, because that's what I had on hand, but next time will try something else. The cheesy factor was nice - the cheddar was okay. It was overpowered a bit which was okay for me. If you want to taste the cheese try something else or add more.

**If you use ground sausage you can skip the step of slicing and it will save you a few minutes... I was just using what I had in my freezer. I also have to dice this up a bit smaller since I have a three year old and I don't want him to choke. 

Making the Bread Pudding:

  • Get the berry bread ready or use store bought bread. 
  • Make the bread dough, and bake it or bake it on a day you have some free time. This particular dough can sit in the fridge for up to 5 days - yay! If you do make the bread, which is hugely recommended. The dough makes awesome bread for french toast and or muffins. So don't feel like you are going to get stuck with half of a thing of berry dough and not know what to do with it. 
  • Let the bread sit out on the counter uncovered for part of a day or a full day to dry out a little bit.
  • Cut half of the bread into slices for the bottom layer. Dice the other half of the small loaf into cubes. 
  • The evening before you want to eat this - assemble it. 
  • Whisk the egg and milk together in a flat dish or bowl. 
  • Stir in the spices
  • Start grilling up the sausages or browning ground pork/turkey sausage. The meat needs to be almost fully cooked or cooked before added to the dish. I would strongly advise against using raw meat. 
  • Butter up a baking dish. I used my glass square one. 
  • Let the bread slices soak in the egg mixture for a minute and turn it over and let it sit for another full minute. If you are using a bowl takes it a bit longer since all the slices probably won’t fit in at the same time. I got 6 slices out of my first half which i managed to squeeze into the bottom of my dish for a solid first layer. 
  • Slice and dice up the meat if using links or whole sausages and put them in the baking dish to create a yummy meaty layer. 
  • Drop all of the cubes in the egg mixture and stir it around. Let them sit for 2-3 minutes to absorb the liquid. If you are mixing in the green onion do it in this step with the bread. 
  • Add the cheese and half of a small package of blackberries to the cubes and egg mixture. Gently toss it together. LOL don’t make jam. 
  • Pour the entire bowl of cubes, cheese and egg mixture into the baking dish. Pat it down with your fingers to create a nice level layer.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight or at least 7 hours. 
  • Bring it to room temp or a minimum of 20 minutes while you are preheating the oven.
  •  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
  • Sprinkle on the green onion if you didn't previously mix it in. Let it sit for 5 minutes to firm up and then dive in! 

Enjoy savory or sweet breakfast at home.  
From my kitchen to yours!

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