Sweet & Savory Breakfast Bread Puddings from Tartine Bakery

This weekend Winston hosted his 3rd Annual Winter Walk for AIDS Brunch on Mendenhall. If you’re living under a rock, Winston is my 2 year-old Westie. He loves a party – especially with good food he can beg for – which is in plenty on Mendenhall. This year we made two Breakfast Bread Puddings from my favorite San Francisco Bakery, Tartine, in the Mission District. With leftover Anna Mae rolls and lots of frozen peaches and blueberries from the summer, the party came together with little effort. I adapted both recipes from Tartine’s cookbook and both were delicious. I think everyone agreed that the savory bread pudding was the best although the sweet was exactly as I can recall from my summer vacations in San Fran. If I made the sweet again, I’d skip the caramel sauce – it’s totally unneeded.

These dishes are perfect for Christmas morning breakfasts. You can make them ahead and bake them that morning.

PS: Winston made Channel 14 News at the Winter Walk! You can check out his fast pace here – we needed it after all the heavy cream and eggs!

Sweet Brioche Bread Pudding Recipe
Adapted from a Recipe by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson from Tartine, makes 6 to 8 servings

  • 6 brioche slices, cut 1-inch cubes
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 – 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1 -1/2 cups peaches

For the Caramel Sauce, makes 1-1/2 cups

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 of one vanilla bean
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 3/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter

Making the Brioche Bread Pudding

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange the brioche cubes on a baking sheet. Place in the oven until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Add the sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the milk, vanilla and salt and whisk until completely blended. Place the toasted bread slices in the dish. Pour the custard evenly over the bread, filling the dish to the top. Top with fruit.

Place in the oven, and bake the pudding for about 1 hour. To test for doneness, slip a knife into the center, and push the bread aside. If the custard is still very liquid,return the pudding to the oven for another 10 minutes. If only a little liquid remains, the pudding is ready to come out of the oven. The custard will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven and it will set up as it cools.

Let the pudding cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Making the (unneeded) Caramel Sauce

Pour the cream into a small, heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the tip of a sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the pod halves into the cream. Place over medium-high heat and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low to keep the cream warm.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, salt and corn syrup. Use a good-sized pan because the caramel will boil vigorously and the volume will increase dramatically as soon as the hot cream is added. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then let the mixture boil, without stirring, until the mixture is amber colored. Watch the sugar mixture carefully as it cooks to avoid burning the sugar. From the time the mixture started to boil, it took over 15 minutes to reach an amber color. Remove from the heat.

The mixture will continue to cook off the heat and become darker, so make sure to have the cream close by. Carefully and slowly add the cream to the sugar syrup. The mixture will boil vigorously at first. Let the mixture simmer down, and then whisk until smooth. Add the lemon juice and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Cut the butter into 1-inch chunks and add them to the caramel one at a time, whisking constantly after each addition. Then whisk the caramel periodically as it continues to cool.

A Savory Bread Pudding,  adapted from Tartine Bakery 

For the filling

  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2 lbs. assorted mushrooms (like chanterelles and porcini), stems trimmed and caps halved

For the custard

  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2/3 c. grated Gruyere or cheddar cheese
  • 3 oz. smoked ham, chopped
  • 12 (day-old) Anna Mae Sweet Potato and Mollases Rolls, cut into cubes and toasted
  • ½ c. grated Gruyere or cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until soft, 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and a bit of olive oil if needed.  Stir the mushrooms until brown.  Season to taste. Remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 375º. To make the custard, in a bowl, whisk the eggs and salt until well blended. Add the cream, milk, pepper, nutmeg, thyme, cheese, and ham, and whisk to combine. Place the bread chunks in an 8-inch souffle dish and add the leeks and mushrooms. Pour in the custard so that it comes all the way to the rim. Sprinkle evenly with the grated cheese. Let stand 8-10 minutes until the custard saturates the bread.

Bake until the custard is no longer runny in the center, about 50 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.


  1. These look delicious! We’re spending a week in Asheville after Christmas with Leland’s mom and younger siblings and I’m in charge of the cooking, I’ll definitely be making one if not both of these!

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