A few weeks back a good friend told me about an incredible bakery/cafe that he visited on a recent trip to Utah. Located in Salt Lake City, Les Madeleines is famous for a breakfast pastry called Kouign Amann which originated in the Brittany region of France. This specialty is so popular that they limit the amount that you can purchase! That bit of info really peeked my interest since I’d never even heard of this gem of a baked good. I looked for a recipe and having found one, decided that I’m not yet ready to attempt this pastry whose process seems similar to croissants. So I will be on the lookout for a real French patisserie that sells kouign amann and find out what it’s all about. Photo of kouign amann is courtesy of David Lebovitz’s blog and visit to Brittany.
My friend F., who gave me the lowdown on his visit to Les Madeleines, (he pressured the owner into selling him more than the allowed allotment) said that they were good, but the real standout of his visit was the mushroom bread pudding. Since he told me that, I’ve had savory bread pudding on my mind. Much to my delight it’s been a cool, foggy afternoon, perfect for making braised short ribs and I thought a mushroom bread pudding would be just the right accompaniment. I’m thinking of all those braising juices sharing a plate with my cheesy, mushroom side dish. This is so easy that you don’t really need a recipe, so I’ll just give you an idea of what I did-it’s really like a strata.
Mushroom Bread Pudding
4 slices country style bread
8 ounces mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese (but you could do cheddar or fontina, or…)
salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Put bread slices on baking sheet and toast bread for 10 minutes. Break into pieces and place in an ovenproof dish. Melt butter in a skillet and saute shallots, mushrooms and thyme, seasoned with salt and ground pepper. In a bowl whisk cream, milk and egg together. Spoon mushrooms over bread. Top with grated cheese and pour egg mixture over top. This is best made a few hours ahead and refrigerated. Remove from fridge and let sit at room temp before placing in oven. Bake for 1/2 hour. Serves: 2-3