I've been known to serve bread pudding at Easter for dessert, but this year, I found myself torn between a sweet rendition with mangoes and chai spice, and a savory version with asparagus and Camembert cheese — so I'm making both! Because plain white breads such as challah, brioche, or pullman loaves have a neutral flavor, they work well as the filling either when baking bread pudding for dessert or as a side dish. Regardless of whether you go for the sweet or the salty, make the flavors current by maximizing ingredients in store now. Use fruits like mango or vegetables such as asparagus. For both recipes, read on.
4 cups stale (but not dry) white bread slices, cut into 1/2-inch cubes Makes 8 servings of 1/2 cup each. 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for dish Makes 8 servings.
2 large ripe mangoes, peeled (see Tip) and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3 cups)
2 cups fat-free milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons light or dark rum, (optional)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon salt
Nutritional information per serving: 164 calories; 2 g fat (0 g sat, 1 g mono); 54 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 2 g fiber; 180 mg sodium; 228 mg potassium.
1-1/2 pounds medium asparagus
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces small white button or wild mushrooms
1 small Vidalia or Spanish onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
1/2 loaf country-style white bread (10 ounces), crust on, cut into 3/4-by-1 1/2-by-1 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
4 ounces ripe Camembert cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1-1/2 cups milk
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
5 large eggs, room temperature
4 cups stale (but not dry) white bread slices, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Makes 8 servings of 1/2 cup each.
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for dish
Makes 8 servings.