The “custard” in this breakfast pudding has no sugar, just a dash of black pepper, a pinch of cayenne, half-and-half and a few eggs. PICTURE: Karsten Moran/The New York Times
Ham and Cheese Brioche Pudding (Serves 6)

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter, for greasing the pan
  • 340g brioche loaf or smaller brioches, cut into 2,5cm cubes (about 8 cups)
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 cups half-and-half or whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 170g thinly sliced ham, cut crosswise into matchsticks (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 230g grated Gouda or Gruyère cheese (about 4 cups)
Method
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 28-by-28-cm baking dish. 
  • Fill dish with brioche cubes and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs well. Whisk in half-and-half, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne and scallions. 
  • Pour mixture over cubes in baking dish.
  • Sprinkle ham and cheese on top of mixture, and press down to make sure everything is submerged. 
  • Set baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Transfer baking dish and baking sheet to the middle shelf of the oven, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the dish emerges dry. 
  • Let rest for 10 minutes or so before serving.

The New York Times