Think of this recipe as a handy template for a mini savory bread pudding (or a strata, if you prefer to call it that), and substitute your favorite cheese or another vegetable if you like. The puddings will rise up in the oven and then collapse as they cool. The flavor develops as they sit, so let them rest out of the oven for a little bit. They are easy to reheat the next day, too. You will need 1-cup ramekins for this – ceramic is nice but Pyrex will do. That said, you can also layer all the ingredients into a 2-quart baking dish and bake one big pudding, too, as in this Broccoli, Bacon, and Gruyere Bread Pudding.

Serves 8

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for rubbing the pan
  • 5 cups cubed challah (about 6 ounces, cut into ¾-inch pieces) 
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 strips bacon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 2 ½ cups very thinly sliced Tuscan kale (ribs removed first)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 7 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups coarsely grated cheddar cheese or 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (or any other cheese you love)

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Rub 8 1-cup ramekins all over with a little butter. Put the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Let the bread cool for a few minutes on the pan and then transfer to a mixing bowl.

2. In a small saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add the maple syrup and stir together. Pour the maple butter over the bread cubes and stir well. Season the bread with a pinch of salt and toss well. 

3. Put the bacon in a medium or large skillet and cook over medium-low heat until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate and crumble or chop when cool. Drain all but a few teaspoons of the bacon fat from the pan and add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Turn the heat to medium-high. When the pan is hot, add the kale and the garlic, season with a bit of salt, and cook, stirring, until the kale is wilted and the garlic is fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, the half and half, the Worcestershire, several grinds of black pepper, and a scant teaspoon of salt (a tad less if using a salty cheese). Whisk well to combine.

5. Arrange the 8 ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet.

6. Divide half of the bread cubes evenly between the 8 ramekins. Scatter half of the bacon (including any crumbs), half of the kale, and half of the cheese over the bread. Repeat with the remaining bread cubes, bacon, kale, and cheese.

7. Pour the egg mixture evenly over each ramekin. Using your fingers, gently press down on the bread and veggies to force the custard to evenly surround everything. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

8. Bake until the puddings are risen, set, and golden colored, about 30 minutes.

This recipe was originally publised with the article, Good Eggs.