Bread Pudding with Ham, Leeks, and Cheese

Bread Pudding with Ham, Leeks, and Cheese
Photo: John Kernick

Using both Gruyere and fontina gives this savory Bread Pudding with Ham, Leeks, and Cheese complex flavor—and they melt beautifully. Serve it with our Wilted Baby Spinach with Crispy Shallots.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for dish

  • 1 bunch leeks (4 to 6), white and palegreen parts only, halved lengthwise, cut into ¼-inch-thick half-moons, and rinsed well (about 3 heaping cups)

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning

  • 8 large eggs

  • 1 quart milk

  • 8 slices challah or brioche (½ inch thick)

  • 6 ounces thinly sliced ham

  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves

  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (4 ounces)

  • 1 cup grated fontina cheese (4 ounces)


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Butter a 9-by-13- inch casserole dish. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook leeks, covered, until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to a small bowl.

  2. Whisk together eggs and milk. Whisk in the salt and pepper. Set batter aside.

  3. Layer the bread, ham, reserved leeks, thyme, and cheeses shingle-style in the buttered dish. Pour batter over top; press gently so bread absorbs liquid.

  4. Bake until puffed and golden brown (tent with foil if edges brown too much before center is set), about 1 hour.

Cook's Notes

The night before, cook the leeks, grate the cheeses, and assemble the bread pudding. Bake it in the morning. If you use only Gruyere, just double the amount.

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