The best of the many great dishes I sampled when I reviewed Cleveland-Heath (106 North Main Street, Edwardsville, Illinois; 618-307-4830) last year was the pork "porterhouse" served atop a large slice of cheddar-jalapeño bread pudding. The pork was terrific, but it's the bread pudding that I've found myself craving time and again since I ate it.
And now I -- and you -- have the recipe.
See Also: - Eric Heath Destroys a Giant Vase and Bans Death Metal in His Kitchen: A Q&A with the Cleveland-Heath Chef - Chef Eric Heath of Cleveland-Heath Calls Edwardsville "An Awesome Place" - Top Ten Dishes 2012 #4: The "Pork Porterhouse" at Cleveland-Heath
Savory Bread Pudding
1 standard loaf bread cut or hand-torn into 1" cubes (or 4 quarts after cut/torn) 1 dozen eggs 2 cups heavy cream 1.5 quarts shredded sharp cheddar (or gruyere, smoked cheese, whatever you like) 1 tbsp salt 1 cup sliced jalapeño, seeds and all (or cut seeds out and dice for a significantly less spicy venture) 1 whole white onion, small dice 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
1. Whip eggs until well incorporated, whisk in cream and salt, set aside.
2. Mix ALL ingredients -- except 1/2 of the cheese -- very well, breaking up bread, until a homogenous mixture is reached. NO DRY INGREDIENTS LEFT BEHIND.
3. Place in a 9x13 baking dish lined with parchment paper and greased with butter. Place mixture in pan, press down with spatula, then top with remainder of cheese.
4. If possible, place baking dish in water bath until 50% submerged, cover with lid or foil (allowing approximately 2 inches from bread pudding and foil). This will allow for a smooth surface of cheese. If not possible, bake without water bath.
5. Bake in conventional oven at 350 for approximately 1 1/2 hours, or in convection oven at 300 for 1 hour, 45 minutes.
It's best to chill overnight, then portion and reheat to order, but you can also serve immediately.