Mushroom Bread Pudding
As I’ve said here before, Bread Pudding is a dessert much beloved by New Orleanians. It was hand’s down my father’s favorite dessert, and the only dish I remember my maternal grandmother making on a regular basis. I doubt, though, that either of them would have imagined a savory bread pudding, and much less a mushroom bread pudding, as so many older New Orleanians disdained mushrooms, calling them “the devil’s bread” – an outgrowth of the sometimes precarious safety status of wild mushrooms.
I think it’s appropriate, however, that the first time I taste Mushroom Bread Pudding, was in New Orleans, at Commander’s Palace, over 10 years ago. After all, New Orleanians are thrifty people who live to eat well, and loathe to waste good French bread, even if it is a day or so old. Since discovering the dish, it’s become a favorite of mine to serve at holiday meals- Christmas dinner, New Year’s brunch, Easter lunch- it’s quite versatile. And never mind “the devil’s bread”- my family and I have grown to love mushrooms of all kinds.
This pudding is light and airy, full of eggs and cream, so it can serve as a main dish for my vegetarian family members, as well as a side dish. It’s filled with shiitake, oyster and cremini mushrooms, and given an extra punch of mushroom flavor with an essence of mushroom made of reconstituted dried porcinis. Add a healthy handful of fresh herbs, and lots of Parmesan cheese- well, what’s not to love? I’m sure it’ll become a favorite of yours, too.
Oh- and here are some links, in case you’d like to check out some of my dessert bread pudding recipes, too:
Recipe for Mushroom Bread Pudding follows…