Savory Roasted Tomato Bread Pudding
With summer right around the corner that usually means one thing….wedding season. And that usually means engagement parties and brunches abound. This savory roasted tomato bread pudding is the perfect dish for a bridal luncheon or brunch occasion of any kind because it’s really elegant and decadent. It definitely has that ‘wow’ factor you want when you want to impress your guests. And best of all you can make them ahead of time and then gently reheat so they are not a last minute item. I actually roasted the tomatoes the night before and then just kept them in the fridge. The croissants I dried out in the oven for 20 minutes and then I just left them on the counter, uncovered, overnight. They will be really dry in the morning but that’s what you want. The actual cooking effort to make this dish is minimal but because the tomatoes roast for almost and hour and then the whole dish bakes in a water bath for an hour you just need to plan ahead. Roast the tomatoes the day ahead or even make the whole dish a day ahead, when you have the time, and then cover and refrigerate and reheat on 350 for 10-15 minutes before serving.
I love the nuttiness of Gruyere cheese so I chose to use that with Parmesan and that’s part of what gives this dish such depth of flavor. The other part is from the thyme and garlic I used when roasting the tomatoes in the oven. You throw the thyme sprigs out after the roasting process but keep all that garlic. Then after you fill your ramekins with the bread, tomatoes, egg & cheese mixture just add a little more of the thyme leaves to the top before it bakes. The reason you want to use a water bath to bake this dish is because it helps gently cook the custard and gives it that delicate mouth feel that you get with a custard and that’s what makes it more decadent, too. Remember that when you are cooling the egg dish remove it from the water bath or it will keep cooking. If I am going to reheat the dish I would take make 5 minutes off the cooking time. You want to cook until it’s just set but not overdone. And I like to put them under the broiler for the last minute to make sure they really get that crusty brown top. This recipe serves four and was created with presentation in mind – thus the ramekins – but you could bake it in a square baking dish, too.
*Cooking note: I used 1-cup ramekins not the smaller kind
- 3 medium croissants
- 2 vine ripened tomatoes cut into ¼ thick slices and then seeds gently removed. 8-10 slices
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced (1 ½ teaspoons)
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- Sea salt & fresh ground pepper
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup half & half
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup grated gruyere cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- Preheat oven to 250. Place tomato slices on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper. Evenly distribute the garlic over the tomato and then place the fresh thyme sprigs on top.
- Cut the croissants in half. Place on a baking sheet.
- Cook the croissants on one rack and the tomatoes on another. Remove the croissants after 20 minutes and continue cooking the tomatoes for another 30-35. Remove from oven and discard the thyme sprigs. Store the tomatoes in the fridge overnight if making ahead and leave the bread out on the counter, uncovered.
- Butter the 1 cup ramekins or small square baking dish. Give the tomatoes a rough chop into quarters (you want large pieces still) and tear the bread into 1 inch pieces. Start layering in the bread and tomatoes, starting with the bread on the bottom until they are gone.
- In a large bowl combine the egg yolks, egg, mustard, heavy cream, half and half, parmesan cheese, gruyere cheese, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
- Using a measure cup scoop up some of the mixture, being sure to get some cheese in each scoop, and pour over each of the ramekins. Keep going until all the egg mixture is gone and each ramekin should be filled about ¾ full. It’s good if there’s a little cheese sitting on top of the bread on the top layer. Put a few fresh thyme leaves (no stems) on top of each bread mixture and place the ramekins in a rimmed baking dish with at least 2 inches of rim. Fill the baking dish with water (careful not to get it in the bread pudding) until the water reaches about ½ way up the ramekins. Cover with foil and bake on the center rack for 50 minutes.
- Uncover and bake for 10-15 more minutes or until just set. Place under broiler to get a brown top, if needed. Cool on a wire rack and serve.