A new take on an old classic, we turned a popular traditional dessert into a perfect savoury Easter brunch dish that serves a crowd. You'll love our easy Ham and Cheese Bread Pudding.
This post is sponsored by Egg Farmers of Canada.
Easter and eggs - they go together perfectly don't they? If ever there was a perfect time to celebrate Canadian eggs, it has to be Easter. They're the quintessential Easter ingredient!
Easter is always a time for family and entertaining and growing up in my house, we were as much about the savoury dishes as we were about the chocolate eggs and jubejube bunnies.
Let's just say that Canadian eggs are a lot more nutritious that those chocolate ones, not to mention a lot fresher. Did you know on average it takes less than a week for Canadian eggs to go from the farm to the grocery store? Did you also know that no matter where you purchase your eggs in this country, they came from a Canadian farm?
So what better way to celebrate the first holiday of spring than with fresh, Grade A Canadian eggs. Whether you're feeding a crowd or making yourself a poached egg on toast, eggs are a must have ingredient. They're perfect for lunch, brunch, dinner or even lupper if you're a Seinfeld fan!
My mom excelled at Easter dinner - as much as I loved my chocolate bunnies, her ham and scalloped potatoes were two of my Easter favourites. And dinner was always topped off with one of her traditional English desserts - a sherry trifle or a bread pudding.
While we ate bread pudding year round as a dessert (check out our Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding) - which is how most people in North America know it - savoury bread pudding for brunch or dinner is also one of my favourites. So this year I'm leaving dessert to Eggs.ca with their recipe for Sunny Side Up Spring Pavlovas (how fun would it be to host a DIY Pavlova topping station after dinner for all your guests?), and instead I'm turning my usual Easter Bread Pudding into a savoury version: Ham and Cheese Bread Pudding!
Ham & Cheese Bread Pudding
I thought it would be fun to take my mom's bread pudding recipe and turn it into something special that channels her delicious Easter ham and cheesy scalloped potatoes. What better way to do that than with a Ham and Cheese Bread Pudding?
Bread pudding is a great dish for entertaining for so many reasons:
- you can whip one up in minutes with no special equipment or skills. If you can stir, you can make bread pudding
- it feeds a crowd - it's a rich dish and a little goes a long way. You can easily get 8 servings out of a bread pudding
- it's a very forgiving recipe - as long as you have the right amount of milk and eggs, you can sub in and out the other ingredients without things going horribly wrong
- it's fantastic for minimizing food waste in your kitchen - especially bread which is one of the most wasted foods in our kitchens
This savoury dish works well for both breakfast/brunch or dinner. It's also a great way to use up leftover Easter ham after Easter.
A Few Tips When Making This Bread Pudding
Bread pudding can be made with a variety of milks - I've successfully made it with 2% dairy milk and cashew milk and I think most nut milks or soy milk would work well. Coconut milk would be great in a dessert version of bread pudding but I'm not sure how it would taste in this particular savoury version.
The recipe calls for 3-5 cups of bread. That might sound vague but it really does work with any of those amounts (I told you it was a very forgiving recipe!). If you only have three cups of bread increase the amount of add-ins that you have.
The important thing with bread pudding is to keep the overall volume of the bread and the add-ins the same as what the recipe calls for. If you don't have enough ham, simply sub in some bacon, broccoli, peas or even green beans to make up the volume. Keep your milk and eggs the same as required by the recipe to avoid a soggy pudding.
The Worcestershire Sauce and the dry mustard are the secret ingredients - they're what makes the flavour perfect so don't skip them if you can help it.
This dish is also a great way to use up any odds and ends of cheese that you have in the fridge (you know those bits that are too small to slice and too scary to grate and keep your fingers intact!). Sharp cheddar will give you lots of flavour but a smoky Gruyere or Gouda could work as well. I made this version with a sharp cheddar for the cubed cheese and a Smoked Parmesan for the grated cheese on top and it was fabulous. Overall, the flavours of this dish reminded me very much of my mom's Mac n Cheese recipe that she made for us growing up!
- 3-5 cups of cubed bread of any kind - stale bread works well
- 3 cups of milk of your choice
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- ½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 cups (approximately) diced ham
- ¾ cup of diced sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated cheese of your choice
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Place the cubed bread in a very large bowl - the bigger the better. Pour milk over top and let sit to soak for 15 minutes
- Whisk together eggs, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, salt and pepper in a smaller bowl
- When the bread has finished soaking add in cubed ham and diced cheese and stir into the bread mixture until just combined
- Pour the egg mixture over top of the bread mixture and stir again until just combined.
- Pour the entire mixture into a large casserole dish and sprinkle the grated cheese over top
- Put the casserole in the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes - times may vary by oven. The top should be golden brown and bubbling.
- Serve warm
We love using a sharp cheddar because of its flavour and melting properties but this is a great recipe for using up any odds and ends of cheese you have leftover.
Bread pudding is a very forgiving dish - if you don't have enough ham, sub in some leftover bacon or some broccoli. As long as you keep the volume the same, you can mix and match your add-ins
If you'd like more info on Canadian eggs, visit egga.ca or follow @eggsoeufs on Twitter and Instagram, and like Get Cracking on Facebook. For recipes and nutrition, visit eggs.ca!