I've been eager to try this recipe since Daniel, one of my customers at the market told me about it. He had a basket of leeks, cream, croutons, thyme and Gruyere. I asked him what he was making- "Leek Bread Pudding".
I was intrigued, never having made bread pudding before. I'm a huge fan of the lovely leek and if there's cheese in the mix, count me in. "Wow! that sounds great. Where'd you get the recipe?" Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home, it turns out. Daniel said he'd just made it for the first time earlier in the week and it was so good he wanted to make it again. I laughed because I do the same thing. If I make something new and it's really great I'm already planning my next shopping trip after my first bite. I like to make it again right away to make sure it's as good as I think it is. If it's just as lovely the second time around it'll become part of the repertoire.
When I Googled the recipe, the first thing to come up was Smitten Kitchen's adaption of Keller's recipe so I knew I was golden 'cuz everyone knows how much I love me some Smitten Kitchen. SK's recipe halves the Ad Hoc proportions to fit in a loaf pan and is more suitable for a small family meal as a side dish whereas the Ad Hoc recipe seems more inclined to those folks who entertain on a larger scale than me. Keller's proportions call for 3 cups of heavy cream AND 3 cups of milk. It's hard to carry that much dairy on the handle bars of my bicycle. In the meantime, I got the book from the library. The pictures are very pretty.
This turned out quite well in spite of a few.. uhmm.. substitutions
I used a variety of crusty freezer loaves I get from the day old bread basket at the market to make the croutons. The recipes suggests making croutons with brioche or a pullman loaf which are less dense and crusty. This was a spontaneous decision when I found leeks at my local produce market yesterday. It was my day off so I didn't get the good stuff and ended up buying a block of supermarket swiss cheese instead of the Emmentaler or Comte the recipe suggests. I also forgot to buy chives so I just added extra thyme.
So yeah, there were a few flaws. It was still delicious so I know it'll be extra awesome next time.