Asparagus & Chive Bread Pudding

Yotam Ottolenghi's asparagus and chive bread pudding

Yotam Ottolenghi’s asparagus and chive bread pudding; lovely with dressed leaves.






1kg asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off
80g unsalted butter, diced and left at room
1 clove garlic, crushed
40g chives, finely chopped
300g stale sourdough loaf, crusts on, cut into
0.5cm slices
5 medium eggs
300ml double cream
200ml full-fat milk
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
200g feta, crumbled
20g parmesan, finely grated (or vegetarian alternative)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the asparagus for 1 minute, until semicooked, drain, refresh under cold water & dry with a cloth. Put half the spears to one side & cut the others lengthways into two or three strips. Cut each strip into two or three
segments, so you’ve got roughly 5cm-long, thin pieces.

Put the butter, garlic & 35g of chives in a small food processor bowl and blitz. Spread this thinly over both sides of the bread. Then, in a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add the cream, milk, nutmeg, half a teaspoon of salt & 1/4 -teaspoon of pepper, and whisk.

Place a layer of buttered bread over the base of a 25cm x 32cm ovenproof dish, scatter the asparagus pieces on top and sprinkle over the feta. Top with the rest of the bread, pour over the custard & top with the whole spears. Press down the top with your hands, so all the bread is immersed in liquid, cover with cling-film & place a small tray on top weighed down with something heavy. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Heat the oven to 170C/335F/gas mark 3. Remove the weight, tray and cling-film from the pudding dish, sprinkle the parmesan & the remaining chives over the top. Bake for 50-55 minutes (cover the dish with foil at the very end if it gets too dark). To check it’s cooked, stick a knife into the centre and press gently – if no liquid comes to the surface, it is ready. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for five to 10 minutes before serving.