Before you dive into this post, please go over and vote for my Grasshopper/Creme de Menthe Bars over at My Baking Addiction/Good Life Eats! I would really appreciate it!
It was every man, woman, and Santa for himself yesterday morning as I weaved my way through the depths of Chinatown, trying desperately to get over to the FDR Drive so that I could finish out my 11 mile long run/walk/run-walk in some semblance of a rational amount of time.
My run-walking buddies and I had already been through many an ordeal at this point. We had throttled tourists on the Brooklyn Bridge. Pointed a few choice fingers at a number of bikers who, in true biker fashion, attempted to run us off the road in an ugly manifestation of what can only be described as compensation for the fact that they aren’t/haven’t been/will not get any for an indeterminate and excruciatingly long amount of time. (Bikers. I’m sorry. I don’t make the rules, I just live by them. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.) Informed our bladders that we were deeply sorry. They were just going to have to wait until we got back to the starting point. (Okay, maybe I was the only one talking to my bladder. Carol had the common sense to eat some salt before we left. So she was retaining water in a truly efficient manner.)
And then. Just minutes after we stepped off the Williamsburg bridge, thinking that we were really and truly in the home stretch with only a mere 2-3 miles left to go. We looked up and found ourselves in a sea of red.
Otherwise known. As SantaCon.
One of New York’s largest and most conspicuous bar crawls, SantaCon is this city-wide event where masses upon masses of people dress up in Christmas/holiday-related (mostly Santa) costumes and travel in a large throng from bar to bar starting crazy early in the morning and ending crazy late at night. I went with my roommate at around 10PM to the bar that she had left her credit card at the night before. And they were still out. Ready. Raring to go. After over fifteen hours of drunkenness.
And for the record. Watching Santa dry hump a scantily clad elf in the middle of a bar on the upper east side of Manhattan is just as disturbing at age 23 as I would imagine it to be at age 5. Even more so, perhaps.
Which is why my future children and I are going to spend our future SantaCons in a bomb shelter. Biding our time. Waiting until the danger passes.
My eyes can’t handle going through this again.
And when that happens, I’ll be sure to have a pan full of this bread pudding raring to go. So dense and carbalicious that it is truly the perfect thing to sustain you in the wake of a national disaster (such as SantaCon). Or to fuel you before a long run.
Or, now that it’s all good and healthy, to eat on a lazy Sunday without any guilt at all whatsoever. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
One of my darling and lovely readers, Elizabeth of Crossword City, sent me an email a few weeks ago asking me if I could healthify Thomas Keller’s absolutely luscious leek bread pudding for her. I took one look at the recipe, saw just how much bread it called for, took a cold shower (necessary), and replied with a loud and resounding ABSOLUTELY.
So I set to it. After some rumination and because I am just crazy enough to bake a loaf of bread for the sole purpose of tearing it up to put in bread pudding, I decided to make a potato chive bread to go in the pudding. You’ve all heard of potato leek soup, right? (I mean, really. It’s a classic. If you haven’t, then please crawl out from under your rock and do a google search.) I thought this would be an interesting play on that. Potato leek soup DECONSTRUCTED. If you will.
A loaf of bread and a few healthy substitutions later. And you are left with a decadent bread pudding that you will not even feel guilty about serving to your holiday guests. Most of whom (given the current state of America) are probably on the verge of having a myocardial infarction with each bite they take. How’s that for holiday spirit, good will towards men. And all that jazz.
Potato and Chive Bread
Makes 1 big loaf or 2 small loaves, adapted from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1 cup cold mashed potatoes
1 cup almond milk
5 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp minced fresh chives
1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and 1/4 cup water. Add the sugar, stirring to dissolve. Let the mix stand for 10 minutes or until foamy. Stir in the remaining 3/4 cups water, the vegetable oil, and the salt. Stir in the potato, followed by the almond milk. Add about half the flour, stirring to combine, then work in the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. I needed to add more flour than this because my dough was EXTREMELY sticky. Transfer to a lightly floured board.
2. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a large, lightly oiled bowl and turn so that it becomes covered in oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1-2 hours.
3. Punch the dough down and knead lightly for a few minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle with the chives and knead until the dough is elastic and the chives are evenly distributed, 3 to 5 minutes. Place dough onto a Silpat or onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Flatten slightly and cover with a clean damp cloth. Set aside in a warm place and let rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 400. Use a sharp knife to cut an X on the top of the loaf. Bake on the center oven rack until golden brown – 35-45 minutes. Tap on the bottom of the loaf (or percuss, as we say in the medical field) – if it sounds hollow, it’s done. And it also isn’t suffering from hepatosplenomegaly. Nice. Remove from the sheet and let cool slightly on a wire rack before slicing.
Savory Leek Bread Pudding
Serves 8 as a main dish, 16 as a side, adapted from “Ad Hoc At Home”
3-4 cups 1/2-inch thick sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
1 tbsp unsalted butter
freshly ground black pepper
12 cups bread (I used potato and chive bread, recipe above)
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh chive leaves
3 large eggs
6 cups almond milk
freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup shredded Emmenthaler or Swiss cheese
1. Place a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Drain excess water from leeks and add to pan. Season with salt and saute until leeks begin to soften, about five minutes. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in butter. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very soft, about 30 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
2. Preheat oven to 350. While leeks are cooking, spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dry and pale gold, about 20-30 minutes, turning pan about halfway through. Transfer to a LARGE bowl, leaving the oven on.
3. Add leeks, chives, and thyme to the bowl with the bread and mix well. In another large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg.
4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan. Top with half of the bread cube mixture. Sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Top with remaining bread. Sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Pour in enough milk mixture to cover bread and gently press on bread so that it gets soaked with the milk. Let rest for 15 minutes.
5. Add remaining milk mixture, letting some bread cubes protrude. Sprinkle with salt and remaining cheese. Bake until pudding is set and top is brown and bubbling, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot.
Calories BEFORE: (1/16 of recipe) 246, Sat. Fat – 9.5 grams, Cholesterol – 89 mg.
Calories AFTER (1/16 of recipe) 141, Sat. Fat – 2.1 grams, Cholesterol – 48 mg.
This has been yeastspotted! And it is also being submitted to Chaya‘s Meatless Mondays! This has been linked to the 12 Days of Bloggie-Mas hosted at A Moderate Life!
And when u said SantaCon , i thought u were going to tell me some delightful walk of lods of Santa’s playing carols, riding in open vans and cycles and waving to u and throwing ballons and sweets in the air!!!
In fact there is a van thats making rounds around here, below our hill, for the past few hours and im loving it!!!
But this savory leek bread is , well fantastic!!!
Healthified like only u can!
And i love the fact ud bake bread to add to a pudding , i would too:-)
I’ve never had savory bread pudding. I love leeks, this looks so delicious!! Love the fact you’ve made it healthy (or healthier).
ROFLMAO!!! “Which is why my future children and I are going to spend our future SantaCons in a bomb shelter.”
I still have to write my entry about yesterday’s ordeal, but you did a great job, right down to my water retention:-) This is one of the reasons why I enjoy the company!
hahahaha, I’ve never heard of SantaCon but that’s pretty hilarious. You paint a disturbing picture, but still hilarious 😉 I sooo need to get back to running…I really don’t want to have a MI at the dinner table.
You’re young. You’re supposed to like things like SantaCon! What’s happening to the youth of today??!! 🙂
Thomas Keller does it right, doesn’t he? Everything. You’ve made it healthier, but it’s great either way. I do love savory bread puddings. There’s a mushroom one I adore!
ROFL – girl, you are a riot! That is one awesome bread pudding, love that you made the bread expressly for tearing it up. I thought I was the only person that would do such a thing.
Masses of people dressed up in Santa costumes sounds like a nightmare I had a few nights ago. I don’t enjoy crowds to begin with, but that would surely make me want to barricade myself in the basement.
Love Natashya – I’d pay her to live with me just so I can wake up to the smell of fresh bread each morning. But alas, I’ll just buy the bread and make this. This would be perfect for a birthday brunch I’m hosting next weekend.
ohhh, santacon. what a hilarious disaster to see.. almost as hilarious as your description of santa dry humping an elf. fabulous. my boyfriend, upon learning about this phenomenon, exclaimed “we’re doing this next year!” god help me.
anywho, blown away by this healthified recipe, as usual. i’ve never made a bread pudding before, but it seems like a wonderfully hearty winter meal.
I seriously think I would have a hard time not devouring the entire contents of the pan by myself, even without the trauma of witnessing SantaCon. But then, since you’ve healthified it, I wouldn’t have to feel so giulty about it.
Joanne, I adore leeks and can only imagine how good this bread pudding tastes. Great for a holiday dinner.
oh my gosh, you are too good!
santacon haha.. reminded me of the movie fred clause… the chasing scene of a sea of red haha. you always crack me up joanne!
wow,you definitley healthy-nized this recipe… i always make bread pudding but should healthy nize it as well.
The bread itself sounds like a winner and Alexis will love it because she loves almond and soy milks.
Your comment about the dry hump is hilarious! You rock.
What a delicious concept. I have always avoided bread pudding in the past because of its overly sweet nature (at least the ones I have been served were). This one looks so savory and would be perfect for Christmas dinner! Great job!!
Almond milk. Yeah. I was just telling my husband that I need to introduce myself to this foreign ingredient in our kitchen. Like I said, I’m watching you. Who knew? LOVE the bread you made for this. So tell me. You have a twin, right? How in the world does a med student find time to run, photograph and blog as often and as well as you do? I need to know. I work full-time and barely have time to blog. One spoonful, please. Then pass me one of those grasshopper brownies that you stashed away.
This is one of those dishes that just speaks to me Joanne.
I was totally planning on making this for Christmas this year (although not really the healthified version, haha). This looks so good, and you rock for baking the bread for your bread pudding. I know it calls for Brioche originally (which is very decadent), but I will probably use regular Italian bread for mine, and just use milk and no cream. That’s about healthy enough for me, lol.
Mmmm. Sounds similar to (if not better than) a panade. Must TRY!
ooh, this sounds delicious! great job with the makeover 🙂
Mmmm I love how you made a potato and chive bread for this! Homemade all the way is how I do it too although sometimes, elbow-deep in flour, I wonder if it really makes a difference. I would have loved to check out the SantaCon madness this year!
i am really impressed that you MADE the bread for your bread pudding… can you come over and help me get over my fear of yeast:-) by the way, i saw so many drunk santas yesterday all over the city! i would not have been happy if they were in the way of my run
Ever since I saw this in Ad Hoc, I’ve been meaning to make it. Alas, I keep forgetting about it. But it does look pretty phenomenal!
Hope you are enjoying your weekend!
Voted! Looks like you’re doing well!
This looks wonderful. That potato chive bread alone is enough to go crazy over. I so want to live next door to you! 🙂
Savory leek pudding looks delicious. i love the bread.
Haha, that’s too funny. My mom came home yesterday after walking my dog exclaiming “I just saw hundreds of Santa Claus’. . .and they were humping eachother!” Definitely made my weekend;)
Wonderful post Joanne! This bread pudding looks mouthwatering delicious!
Good luck with the contest hon’ just voted for you!
I am sooo loving your healthy approach on this delicious pudding Joanne! I am not, however, loving the thought of Santa dry humping a scantily clad elf! Lol!
Nice job! Almond milk, huh? I made my first savory bread pudding recently and it was SO good but SOOOOO bad if you know what I mean. I would be nervous not using any cream but it looks like yours turned out beautifully.
Based on what I saw yesterday I might have preferred Santa suits. Two people ran my 5k wearing only speedos. And then there were the girls wearing underwear and shirts that had been cut and tight under their breasts. And they can’t even blame alcohol.
I’ve already voted for you Joanne. Good luck. You did a great job with this recipe. Now anyone can enjoy it with no guilts.
I voted girlie. I am still drooling over those mint bars.
Looks great! I love your photos btw! 🙂
Sounds fantastic! I don’t know if I’d get past the bread, though…far too tempting 😉 Although, I know it’d be worth it…just the photos have my juices flowing!
What a great recipe! I really like leeks so this would be right up my alley!
Looks like a delicious dish, but I doubt the bread would survive to make the main dish.
Wow, what a beautiful Christmas present. You’ve healthified this dish with Almond Milk and freshly-made bread. Thanks for posting the comparative calorie/fat counts. I’m trying your recipe soon, as a way to cope with Santacon’s revelers who nearly mowed us down in Times Square last night. Savory Bread Pudding to the rescue. Joanne, you’re the best!
Oh my, this sounds wonderful.Your bread looks drop-dead gorgeous too!
Off to vote!
Well done, your healthy version of the bread pudding sounds as delicious as it is lower cal! In the unlikely event there’s any left over, maybe you could use it cover your eyes during SantaCon 😉
LoL! you’re hilarious! and an 11 mile run? good for you!
i love healthified versions of just about anything, but especially when the dish is as gorgeous and delicious as this!
What do I comment on first? the Sant Con- that just makes me smile. I think that is a fabulous idea. Too funny, very clever. Nothing like a bunch of drunk santas with elves.
Thomas Keller is my numero uno favorite chef! His recipes are always lengthy and at times complicated but, when I am feeling the love, it is his recipes that I tackle.
Love, love, this Savory Leek Bread Pudding. I just may have to tackle this recipe too. I will probably buy the loaf of bread as well 🙂 Awesome!
What a fabulous recipe. I really have to give this one a try. I hope you are having a great day. Oh, next time close your eyes. It’s cheaper than therapy. Blessings…Mary
I definitely prefer savory puddings over the sweet ones although I never tried it with leeks, guess am buying leeks next time I go grocery shopping 🙂
I voted for you!
love savoury bread pudding! ps. thomas keller was just here in hong kong 😀
Your eyes to my MIND! I too now am scarred for life. Your healthy Leek Bread Pudding is helping me get over the visions of Santa and Elves gyrating…
haha! i had never heard of santacon before this! that’s insane. i think i would have knocked out like twelve or fifteen santas and their elves!
i still don’t know what a leek is..
look at you all healthy. looks delicious!
Haha, Santacon sounds fun. I love leeks and it’s so nice how you lightened this up – yum!
What delicious looking food! Thank you for the recipes :). Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters
Grasshopper bars voted for–check
Drool from gazing at bread pudding wiped from chin–check
what’s better than a bunch of creepy men dressed up in santa suits? well, bread pudding, for one. 🙂
I’ve read every word of your post and love it! Santa has to have some fun before the big EVE!! I’m intrigued enough to actually make this bread pudding. It sounds so different. I won’t, however, be using almond milk!! I didn’t even know almonds produced milk for goodness sake!
Stay away from those Santas they are trouble. May I suggest exotic vacation with your kids over the bomb shelter? May be a bit more pleasant. I love this recipe. I actually have leeks in the fridge since I am planning to make potato leek soup, but now maybe this… you can me all baffled
Damn. You even MADE the bread too?! You go girl. This looks so good. If I was closer I would invite myself over for dinner. 🙂
This leek bread pudding sounds amazing! Love your healthy version, neat that you used almond milk!
This sounds delicious, Joanne! And wow this is the first I’ve heard of SantaCon. I can barely stand to be drunk for 3 hours, much less 15. Can I share your shelter if I ever get stuck there around then? ;p
Your description of SantaCon had me cringing and thankful I’m on the other side of the country. Euwwww!
The bread pudding? Fabulous. Yes, please!
Wow! You go to medical school, run, and prepare homemade bread and dishes like this…huff..huff…I am out of breath just thinking about it…lol You are truly inspiring:) This looks fantastic. Great job making this dish healthier.
As far as Santa and the elf, yes, that is just wrong:)
Yeah, santacon was out of control this year!!! lol. i have video footage from friends. insane!
I love this savory bread pudding! I made some braised leeks last night… pretty awesome if i may say so myself… lol
Santacon sounds crazy! It might have been fun when I was 21 but not after that.
The bread pudding looks amazing… I love that you made your own potato chive bread for it.
leek bread pudding!!??!! what a brilliant take on such a recipe! and u cut that sucker right in half nutritionally- amazing!!
Oh my goodness – living in New York sure is exciting!! And this bread pudding sounds so good – I’m sure I wouldn’t even know it was “healthified”!
SantaCon, really?? Oh, you crazy New Yawkers! You didn’t want to pull out your Santa costume and join in on the (rather lengthy) revelery? 😉
I’m incredibly impressed by your healthified deconstructed potato leek soup bread pudding – that’s very clever! And I’m all for healthified, especially when the dish looks as good as yours. Nicely done, Joanne!
Also, I voted for you. Of course.
What an event! I guess there are all kinds of events happening at the Big Apple right now.
That is a gorgeous, crusty loaf of bread and equally gorgeous bread pudding. I know it is essential to use the bread for the pudding but it will break my heart a little to tear it up.
Your bread pudding looks fantastic especially with your homemade bread. I voted for your entry and it also looks delicious. By the way, I’m holding a giveaway on my blog for Orglamix Organic makeup and you’re welcome to come by and enter. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2010/12/orglamix-organic-mineral-makeup-review.html
Wow, does that sound like a run to remember, lol! The bread pudding is gorgeous, Joanne. Potato leek soup in bread pudding form…I’m so in!
I love bread pudding and think it’s pretty awesome that you healthified it! And it still looks absolutely amazingly delicious. Yays all around!
Your bread pudding looks wonderful. What a weekend!
looks really good! i want to make this and potato leek soup now. savin it.
You are one amazing baker and cook – to make everything from scratch and still managed that 11 mile run and/or walk! 😀
P.S you just won the giveaway I recently held at my blog and already been contacted via email. CONGRATS!
wow amazing bread pudding love leeks and he he only in NYC
Healthifying stuff is a fun challenge! You could use some whole wheat flour in there 🙂
SantaCon – sounds like a group I would like to be a part of. haha
Joanne, I never had savory bread pudding…this one sure looks terrific…what a great idea 🙂
I voted for you!! 🙂 LOVE this bread pudding. 🙂 I’ve never had a savory one before, but you’ve made it sound (and look!) so scrumptious I will have to try it soon.
SantaCon sounds soooo funny! I am a bread addict and that bread looks amazing!
That looks wicked good! I’ll be sending it to my sister in law, she’ll totally want to make it for some kind of holiday dinner. Not that I’m being altruistic, I eat all my holiday meals at her house. Heh.
Ooh, this sounds fabulous. Puts me in mind of a crazy rich Thanksgiving “dressing” recipe made with leeks, sage and way too much eggs and cream (I like to make it with decent loaf of potato rosemary bread I can purchase here). While the flavors in the original recipe were awesome, the dish itself was overwhelmingly rich as a Thanksgiving side. One of the diners I served it to wisely suggested it would make a great breakfast dish. So I backed off on the eggs and cream a tad and have been serving it as a brunch main dish ever since. Thanks for sharing this recipe – a great one to add to my repertoire.
Can I just say? Wow. I think I’m drooling. I would be happy to just eat that lovely bread alone, forget about the other fancy fixings!
Leek is such a great ingredient with its fragrant smell. Love it!
Joanne, I just voted. I noticed that you have 48 votes now. :-)) Well-done!
The bread pudding with leeks looks so flavoursome and delicious.
All the best with the contest!
I saw pictures from this Santa extravaganza on my friend’s profile last night. I was confused, so your post brought me a good measure of clarity! What an interesting tradition! I probably could have people-watched for hours! And goodness…11 miles…I was impressed with my four miles this morning! And lastly…this bread pudding looks amazing (as in I want to make this right now even though it is well past midnight) Bring on the gingerbread! And Ryan was just asking for scones…perfect! Thank you for sharing this with me. I hope you have a joyful week, my friend!
LOL! Please forgive the end of my last post. I accidentally pasted a comment I had left for another gal’s blog. No gingerbread here!
That sounds AMAZING! I love leeks, and I think I’d adore bread pudding – especially a savory version.
OK, now I’m off to vote for you 🙂
Looks fantastic and yummy!
LOL at “Watching Santa dry hump a scantily clad elf in the middle of a bar on the upper east side of Manhattan is just as disturbing at age 23 as I would imagine it to be at age 5.” SantaCon sounds like something that I would’ve loved 5 years ago or so, and now would avoid like the plague. Wasteoids just don’t do it for me, I want to smack’em! This bread pudding looks SO good! I love bread pudding, but especially in savory form!
Bookmarked…Never tried it with almond milk!
Santacon is enough to give anybody nightmares! I could never think of Santa the same way again. You did such an excellent job at lightening up this recipe! It sound every bit as delicious – especially with the homemade bread! Voted!
Whoa….santacon. It kinda of sounds like another version of Mardi Gras.
I’m in love with this potato chive bread. Love how you healthified the bread pudding. It looks delicious.
Beautiful! I love that you made bread for it too. Way to healthify the bread pudding!
Joanne! What a story. You are witty and funny and dry and wry! I love it! This post I have had up for 2 days on my page trying to get the time to read and respond to… one day? or two? Anyway, I have the cookbook and LOVE that you have made this a healthier dish. Homemade is essential – and a healthy homemade is what this is all about, so I thank you, too – and look forward to making this! I will be just as crazy as you, and make the bread, too. (My Thermomix makes that super easy, thankfully).
I am VERY impressed and appreciative.
santa con..oh scary, how wonderful for you to remake this into a healtheir option…and you did a fab job, the bread is calling my name, but the bread pudding. holy batman!! yummy
You always amaze me at the elaborate recipes you do. I don’t know that I will get to the bread pudding, but the bread recipe alone is worth bookmarking!
Oh goodness, SantaCon. The insanity. I think you’ve scarred us all now with that image 🙂
I voted for you! And, your recipe today looks amazing too, but I didn’t want to comment since I can’t eat the goodies you are giving away. Next time …
Very ambitious to make your own bread for bread pudding! Not sure I would do the same, but I’d still like to give this recipe a try!
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I really don’t even like bread pudding (I’m not big on soggy bread) but I’ve been eyeing this recipe in Ad Hoc for sooo long. I’m so impressed you even made your own bread for it, and I love that you chose potato bread based on potato leek soup. Who knew it could be healthified?!
Holy fat cutting, Batman! Awesome job on healthifying something that’s not quite so healthy – looks delicious!
yeastspotting! hahah love it. seriously though, leeks are so under-utilized. this looks awesome.
oh this looks gorgeous and I am so glad it is healthier – just can’t imagine the unhealthy version – shudder to think how many eggs – but I love this and even your crazy idea of making your own potato bread – I love potato bread and it would be wonderful in bread pudding
Great idea to make the potato bread for this. I love love love leeks and I bet this bread pudding was wonderful.
I like the sound of a savoury bread pudding!
Love everything about this bread pudding you made but what I love most of all is the potato & chive bread you made to use in it! Delicious. I’d have a hard time not eating the loaf before making the bread pudding!