This is a wonderful addition to you holiday breakfast / brunch buffet. This recipe can be (should be) made a day ahead and refrigerated; reheat before serving.
Leek & Gruyère Bread Pudding
Serves 10 – 12
3 Tbs unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
1 bunch leeks (4 or 5), white and pale-green parts, thinly sliced crosswise, rinsed well
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tsp coarse salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
5 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 loaf day-old brioche (about 1 lb), crusts removed, cut into ¾” slices and then halved crosswise
2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch (10-cup) round baking dish. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic; cook, stirring often, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add wine; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half. Transfer half of the leek mixture to a bowl, and reserve.
Whisk cream, milk, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and pepper into leek mixture in pan; bring to a simmer. Add 1/2 cup hot cream-leek mixture to eggs and yolks in a medium bowl, whisking. Whisk in another cup cream-leek mixture; return egg-leek mixture to pan. Cook, whisking, until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Arrange 8 or 9 pieces of bread in prepared dish. Pour 2 cups egg-leek mixture over bread. Sprinkle half the reserved leeks and half the cheeses over bread. Let stand 10 minutes. Arrange remaining bread in a slightly overlapping circle on top, and then add remaining egg-leek mixture. Sprinkle with remaining leeks and cheeses. Let stand 10 minutes.
Cover dish loosely with foil, and place in a small roasting pan. Add enough hot water to reach halfway up sides of dish. Bake until golden brown and set, about 55 minutes. Remove foil, and bake until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Let cool in dish on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.