This year I have finally been trying to whittle down my recipe collection. I have quite a few cookbooks and magazines recipes that I have saved that had yet to get tested to see if they are a family favorite.  So far we have found quite a few new go-to recipes.  One that I tried the other week I tinkered with quite a bit, changing ingredient proportions, swapping out cheese kinds, and omitting an ingredient I thought wouldn’t compliment the dish.  The end result was an Apple, Bacon, Leek Bread Pudding that is sure to be a part of our Thanksgiving gathering this year.

When you try this recipe (or the original found here on don’t forget to read all the instructions ahead of time, as it does require a rest step in the refrigerator to let the bread soak up the pudding base.

If you have any other favorite stuffing or bread pudding that can rival this Apple, Bacon, Leek Bread Pudding in terms of best holiday side dish I would love to hear about it!

Apple, Bacon, Leek Bread Pudding

  • 12 oz crusty country bread (or Udi’s whole grain sandwich bread if gluten free), ripped into ¾-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces of bacon
  • 2 large leeks, white and tender green parts cut into half moon slices
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 granny smith apples, cored and cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 ounces shredded sharp white cheddar

Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Place bread on a full baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minute or until crisp, stirring once. Set aside.  At the same time, place the bacon on a full backing sheet and bake until crisp.  Remove the bacon from the baking sheet and drain on a paper towel, reserve 3 tablespoons of the drippings. Crumble the bacon and add to a large bowl.

Add the reserved drippings to a large skillet. Heat the large skillet over medium-high heat and add the leeks.  Cook until just tender and then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer.  Add the apples and cook for another 2 minutes or until the apples begin to soften.  Remove from the heat and add to the bowl with the bacon and let cool for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs, whipping cream, water, salt, and pepper until well mixed.  Add the bread chunks and the cheese to the leek mixture, then pour the liquid over the bread-leek mixture and stir to coat.  Pour into a greased 13 inch X 9 inch casserole dish.  Cover and chill for 2 1/2 hours to overnight. 

Remove from the refrigerator and let stand while the oven preheats to 400ºF.  Bake, covered for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20-30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 170ºF.  Serve.