Consider this recipe a double whammy. Not only do you end up with a dreamy, cheesy bread pudding, but you also get the recipe for an excellent loaf of Irish soda bread!
YIELD: Makes 8 servings
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 45 minutes
Lay the puff pastry over the skillet for a pretty look. Use any brand; the weight may vary, but either way you’ll have enough to work with.
SODA BREAD INGREDIENTS:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 ounces sharp white Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (1 1/4 cups)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 4 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
8 (6-ounce) ramekins or a 2-quart shallow gratin or baking dish
TO MAKE SODA BREAD:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. 2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and caraway in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and butter. Stir just until dough is evenly moistened but still lumpy. 3. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and turn dough to coat with flour. Gently knead with floured hands about eight times to form a soft but slightly less sticky dough. 4. Form into a domed six-inch round and put on an ungreased baking sheet. Cut a 1/2-inch-deep “X” across top of each loaf with a sharp knife. Using a small sieve, dust 1 tablespoon of additional flour over loaf. 5. Bake in middle of oven until golden brown and bottom sounds hollow when tapped, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer loaf to a rack and cool completely.
TO MAKE PUDDINGS:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter ramekins or baking dish. 2. Cut enough bread into 1-inch cubes to measure 3 3/4 cups (about half the loaf; reserve remaining bread for another use.) Divide bread among ramekins (or spread in larger baking dish). 3. Whisk together eggs, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in cheese and spoon over bread in ramekins or baking dish. Let stand 10 minutes. 4. Put ramekins or baking dish in a larger baking pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up sides of ramekins or dish. 5. Bake until just set and a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. 6. Transfer ramekins or dish from hot water bath to a rack and cool 20 minutes before serving.