June 27th, 2017
From The Harvest Baker, by Ken Haedrich
Butter a medium-size shallow casserole dish. Spread the cubed bread out in the casserole dish while you’re doing your prep, to help dry it out.
Peel the lower third of each asparagus spear with a vegetable peeler or a paring knife. Cut off the tender tips, and slice the remainder of the spears into 1-inch sections. (If you’d rather not use the lower sections, you’ll need about a pound of asparagus.)
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the asparagus tips and chopped spears along with the garlic and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the asparagus is not quite tender. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the half-and-half, mustard, thyme, salt, and pepper. Whisk well.
Spoon the cooked vegetables evenly over the bread, then distribute the Brie, cheddar, and ham over that. Whisk the custard briefly, and pour it slowly over everything. Using a large spoon, gently press on the solids so they’re submerged by the custard. Cover the dish loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours; overnight is fine.
When you’re ready to bake the pudding, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Remove the foil from the dish and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. When the pudding is done, it will have puffed nicely and the surface will be golden brown. To check the center, carefully—so you don’t leave a big crater—dig into it with a spoon or butter knife and see how it looks. It should not be soupy or look like there’s a lot of uncooked custard. Transfer the pudding to a cooling rack and cool briefly before serving.