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Recipe: Ina Garten’s Herb & Apple Bread Pudding

Skip the Thanksgiving stuffing or dressing, and make this instead

Quentin Bacon
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Stuffing or dressing, however you like to call it, is likely to land on your table this month alongside the Thanksgiving turkey. Perhaps you’re devoted to one particular recipe your mother made or worship the store bought box of ingredients. But if you’re willing to take the risk on something new this year, this is the recipe to try.

If you haven’t heard yet, Ina Garten — the calm, poised home cooking goddess of the Food Network — is out with a new book this fall. Her 10th cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey, had already rocketed to the top of the charts when it was still in pre-sale. The following is an excerpt from that latest tome. Garten’s version is a bread pudding, which just a slightly tweaked version of a standard dressing anyway. It’s cooked outside the bird, so the custardy bread and veggies get deliciously crisp. Unlike some standard stuffing recipes, this one calls for eggs, tart apples, and plenty of cheese, which most can agree makes everything taste better. Test it out ahead of the big family affair.

Ina Garten’s Herb & Apple Bread Pudding

Serves 8 to 10

This bread pudding is based on the Thanksgiving stuffing that I’ve been making for Jeffrey for decades. I prefer to roast my turkey without stuffing because it cooks faster and stays moister. Bread pudding that bakes alongside the turkey is the best of both worlds: moist turkey and crispy stuffing.

8 cups (¾-inch-diced) country bread cubes, crusts removed
4 tablespoons ½ stick) unsalted butter
3 ounces pancetta, ½-inch-diced
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1 ½ cups medium-diced celery
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
½ cup medium or dry sherry
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
7 extra-large eggs
2½ cups heavy cream
1¼ cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, lightly packed (6 ounces with rind), divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bread in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, tossing once, until lightly browned. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta, raise the heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes, until browned. Stir in the onions, celery, and apple and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the sherry, rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone. Off the heat, stir in the parsley.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, cream, chicken stock, and 1½ cups of the Gruyère in a very large bowl. Stir in the bread and the vegetable mixture and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the custard. Pour into a 9 × 13 × 2-inch oven-to-table baking dish. Sprinkle with the ½ cup of Gruyère and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is browned and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Serve hot.

To make ahead: Assemble early in the day, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Bake just before serving.

Reprinted from Cooking for Jeffrey. Copyright © 2016 by Ina Garten. Photographs by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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