We aren’t all natural homemakers with talents in the kitchen and a knack for playing hostess. But that’s okay, because Ina Garten exists, and she’s here to share her wisdom with the world. And Garten knows Thanksgiving. As in, knows how to make a Thanksgiving dinner that will have all of her guests drooling on their decorative plates. If you’re hoping for a similar reaction, try Garten’s Herb and Apple Bread Pudding on for size. She recommends serving it in lieu of standard stuffing.
"Traditional stuffing can get so soggy," she says. "This one is moist and crusty, which is so good." Cook it in a casserole dish and not inside the turkey, so you don’t run the risk of overcooking the bird.
8 cups country bread cubes, crusts removed, ¾-inch-diced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 ounces pancetta, ½-inch-diced
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups medium-diced celery
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 cup medium or dry sherry
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
7 extra-large eggs
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
2 cups (6 oz. with rind) grated Gruyère, lightly packed, divided
How to Make It
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Place bread in a single layer on a sheet pan; bake for 20 minutes, tossing once, until lightly browned. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add pancetta, raise heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes, until browned. Stir in onions, celery, and apple; cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Stir in sherry, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper; cook for 5 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone. Off the heat, stir in parsley.
4. Whisk eggs, heavy cream, chicken stock, and 1½ cups of the cheese in a very large bowl. Stir in bread and vegetables; set aside for 30 minutes so bread can soak up the custard.
5. Pour into a 9-by-13-by-2-inch oven-to-table baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining Gruyère; bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is browned and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Serve hot.
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