Kale, Pancetta and Gruyere Bread Pudding Recipe

by Nancy Zaffaro
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bread pudding recipe

The bread pudding recipe presented here is made with brioche, kale, pancetta, and gruyere is a perfect dish for brunch, breakfast, or lunch. It’s also a great dish to take to someone who needs a meal. Baking these in individual ramekins allows easy reheating later, as needed.

The recipe comes from Chef Todd Ketterman, Department Chair and Faculty Member at Linn-Benton Community College (LBCC) Culinary School in Albany, Oregon. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Chef Todd and some of his students, and touring the school’s facilities.

We then enjoyed a marvelous lunch at Santiam Restaurant, the program’s fine-dining restaurant that open to the public during the school year. Students plan the menu, cook, serve, learning all facets of running a restaurant. Sample entrees: Grilled Anderson Ranch Lamb Rack with Chimichurri, Seared Scarlet Scallops with Citrus Buerre Blanc. Highly recommended: a great experience on a fast food budget, while you support tomorrow’s star chefs.

Thanks so much, Chef Todd and LBCC Culinary School!

Brioche Bread Pudding Recipe


  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 ½ pounds gruyere, grated and divided
  • 4 ounces leek
  • 4 ounces pancetta lardons
  • Cold butter, as needed

Custard Ingredients:

  • 10 eggs
  • 2 cups cream
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

To Prepare Custard:

  1. Blanch kale for 2 minutes, then “shock” in cold water, and plunge into cold water. Chop, and set aside.
  2. Cut pancetta into strips, slowly cook o render out fat until crispy. Set aside.
  3. Slice leek and sauté. Set aside.
  4. Whisk all custard ingredients together in a large stainless steel bowl and stir until the sale is dissolved.
  5. Add kale, ½ pound gruyere, brioche, leeks, and crispy pancetta. Stir everything together and let rest for 10 minutes. Stir again and let it sit for 5 more minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, grease 12 large ramekins with cold butter. Distribute bread pudding among the 12 ramekins, and split the remaining liquid among the ramekins.
  7. Top evenly with the remaining pound of gruyere.
  8. Bake in a water bath at 350 degrees F until cooked through, about 35 minutes. (Editor’s Note: Haven’t used a water bath? It’s easy. Just put your ramekins in a baking pan, [a lasagna pan will do] and fill the pan with water, leaving some room so that the water doesn’t go inside the ramekins. Don’t worry about the water levels too much; it’s a pretty forgiving process. What this does is create a soft creamy bake that doesn’t dry out the ingredients.)
  9. Individual bread puddings can be completely chilled and re-heated as needed.

bread pudding recipe   bread pudding recipe

Editor’s Notes: I had great fun with this recipe. The kale is wonderful, but you could substitute the kale with other greens like chard, or broccoli or broccolini. The high egg and butter content of brioche is wonderful, but other good breads could be substituted. In baking the bread pudding, I played with three different size ramekins and put the rest in a large soufflé pan. The same cooking time was just fine with all ramekins; I just let the soufflé pan bake a little bit longer. This recipe can be cut in half.

Todd Ketterman

Chef Todd Ketterman leads the LBCC Culinary School program in Albany, Oregon.

For More:

-Photos by Nancy Zaffaro. The cover photo shows a sample of the baked goods that are made in-house; including brioche that is used to make the bread pudding featured here.

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