Bubbles go well with brunch – we all know this. At the risk of downplaying how good bubbles are with any meal, we’re going to supply one of our favorite brunch/holiday/social gathering dishes. We have a family who hosts us every Easter and serves this dish. We get as excited for this scrumptious offering as the kids get for chocolate eggs.
There are a lot of complex flavors and textures in this dish. Bubbles work with the saltiness of the cheese and don’t overpower the nuance of the custard or subtlety of the leeks and herbs.
1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of wine evaporates, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is smoking, arrange the mushrooms cut-side down in the pan and cook without stirring until seared and caramelized, about 1 minute more. Stir the mushrooms, add the radicchio, and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
4. To make the custard, in a bowl, whisk the eggs and salt until well-blended. Add the cream, milk, pepper, nutmeg, thyme, 2/3 cup cheese, and ham and whisk to combine.
5. Place the bread chunks in an 8-inch soufflé dish and add the leeks, mushrooms, and radicchio. Pour in the custard so that it comes all the way to the rim. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Let stand for 8 to 10 minutes until the custard saturates the bread.
6. Bake until the custard is no longer runny in the center, about 50 minutes. Let the pudding rest for 15 minutes before serving.
You can assemble the dish up to a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator, letting it come to room temperature before baking.