Food & dining

Recipe for butternut challah bread pudding

Wendy Maeda/Globe staff

Serves 12 as a side dish

This playful recipe, meant to go on the table with the main course, is deceptive. “It’s going to look like dessert but with savory flavor,” says Carolyn Johnson of 80 Thoreau.

Butter (for the dish)
2large peeled butternut squash halves (2½ pounds total)
3tablespoons butter
1large red onion, quartered with skins on
1tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1loaf (1 pound) challah, cut into
1-inch cubes
6whole eggs plus 6 extra yolks
2cups heavy cream
3tablespoons chopped fresh sage

1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Have on hand a medium roasting pan, a rimmed baking sheet, and a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Butter the dish.

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2. Rub each squash half with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Place cut sides down in the roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. In a bowl toss the onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add to the squash and continue roasting for 30 minutes, or until the squash and onions are tender when pierced with a skewer. Total roasting time is 60 minutes. Remove from oven; cool.

3. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees. On the baking sheet, toast the challah for 15 to 20 minutes, turning often, or until browned.

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4. Cut the squash into large chunks; discard the onion skins. In a food processor, puree the squash and onions, working in batches, until smooth.

5. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, extra egg yolks, squash, cream, salt, and pepper.

6. In the dish, place ½ the challah cubes in a single layer. Sprinkle with ½ the sage. Pour over ½ the custard, gently shaking the dish so the custard fills any gaps. Repeat with the remaining challah, sage, and custard. Use a rubber spatula to spread evenly over the top. Let sit for 15 minutes so the bread absorbs some of the custard.

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7. Cover with foil and bake for 1 to 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Adapted from Carolyn Johnson

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