You may have noticed a lot of my posts recently center on tomatoes. So you probably remember me lamenting over the overabundance of tomatoes in my garden. Even one of my neighbors commented on the overabundance of tomatoes in my garden, which led to a conversation about whatthehelltodo with all those tomatoes. She suggested freezing them, which I may resort to when the whether becomes cooler. But right now I’m still inspired to cook. So … Bread pudding anyone?
The bread pudding from my youth (made by my grandma when she had stale bread to use) is of the dessert variety and uses stale bread, apples, cinnamon and raisins. This recipe, adapted from one found at epicurious.com, uses stale bread, fresh tomatoes, and cheese.
- 3 lbs plum tomatoes such as Roma, halved lengthwise
- 1 1/2 tsp. herbs (I used thyme and oregano because I had them within reaching distance)
- extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 whole head garlic
- 12 c. cubed (1-inch) artisan-style bread
- 2 c. whole milk
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 8 large eggs
- 4 T. tomato puree
- 2 to 3 c. coarsely grated Italian Fontina cheese
- 1/2 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter a 4.8-quart shallow glass baking dish.
- Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, in a large heavy 4-sided sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.
- Cut off and discard 1/4 inch from top of garlic head to expose cloves, then drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil. Wrap garlic in heavy-duty foil and roast in the oven with tomatoes until tomatoes are browned but still juicy and garlic is soft, 50 to 60 minutes.
- Cool garlic to warm, then squeeze the softened cloves of garlic from their skins.
- While garlic cools, toss bread cubes in a large bowl with enough olive oil to coat, then spread out in a large 4-sided baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes (longer if needed). Cool in pan.
- While the bread is cooling, puree in your blender or food processor milk, cream, eggs, garlic, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper. (You may have to do this in batches.)
- Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
- Transfer bread to baking dish, then pour egg mixture over bread. Top with fontina cheese, then add tomatoes, pushing some down between bread cubes, if desired. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until firm to the touch and golden brown in spots, 50 to 60 minutes.