1 loaf sweet french bread, preferably day-old* (cubed or torn into 1” pieces)
1 large onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
2 C. whole milk
1 C. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 oz. Gouda or Sharp-Chedder, grated
Preheat oven to 425º F. Lay strips of bacon on bakers rack in a rimmed sheet pan. Roast for about 20 minutes until crispy. Cool on paper towel-lined plate. Chop into lardons. Reserve about 2 Tbsp. of the bacon drippings.
Heat large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add reserved bacon drippings. Sauté onions and garlic in drippings until onions are translucent and garlic is golden. Allow to cool.
Prepare a 9×13” baking dish (or 2 9” pie plates) with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, salt and pepper. Stir in bacon, onions, cheese and bread cubes, just until combined.
Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in refrigerator overnight.
Preheat oven to 375º F. Remove wrap. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until set. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes to brown the top.
Serve with caramelized spiced apples as a compliment to the rich, savory bread pudding.
*Cook’s Note: We like to use the sweet french bread from the bakery at your favorite grocery store. Alternatively, you can use buttermilk bread.