This is a dish with more heft and less faff than quiche which can be made a day ahead. Use a baking dish measuring about 23cm by 17cm. For a vegetarian version, substitute the bacon with mushrooms. Serve with a tomato and avocado salad.
1 x 500g white cob loaf
60g butter, softened (plus 20g extra for greasing a dish)
1 tbsp olive oil
12 rashers streaky smoked bacon (about 250g)
1 large onion, roughly chopped
125ml dry white vermouth (or other dry white wine)
2 large eggs
3 egg yolks (from large eggs)
300ml single cream
300ml sour cream
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
80g pickled, sliced jalapenos
200g strong cheddar cheese, grated
3 tbsp chives, finely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 170C (150C fan-forced). Slice the cob loaf in half, then into 2cm thick slices. Arrange slices in a single layer on one or two baking trays and place in the oven for about 10 minutes, turning halfway through so both sides are lightly toasted. When cooled, lightly butter one side of each slice and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the bacon over medium heat until golden brown but not crisp. You may need to cook in batches to prevent the bacon from stewing. Transfer the bacon to a plate and set aside. Without washing the frying pan, toss in the onion and cook over medium heat until softened and lightly browned. Add the vermouth, increase the heat to medium-high and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
3. Whisk the eggs and yolks in a medium bowl, then whisk in the cream, sour cream, salt and pepper to combine. Set aside.
4. Grease the baking dish with the extra butter, then arrange half of the bread slices – buttered-side down and overlapping slightly – in the dish. Sprinkle half the onion over the bread, then roughly tear the bacon and scatter half the rashers on top. Dot with half the jalapeno, then scatter over half of the cheese and half of the chives. Repeat the layering with the remaining bread slices, onion, bacon and jalapeno (the remaining cheese and chives will be used later). Ladle the egg mixture evenly over the bread layers, pressing down to ensure most of the bread is moistened. Wrap the dish tightly in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 24 hours.
5. When ready to bake, remove the dish from the fridge and allow to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190C (170C fan-forced).
6. Remove the cling film and scatter the rest of the cheese evenly over the top. Bake until the pudding is light golden-brown and puffy, and the edges have pulled away slightly from the sides of the dish (45 to 50 minutes). If the pudding looks as though it is over-browning, cover it loosely with baking paper or foil.
7. Cool the pudding on a wire rack for a few minutes before sprinkling the remaining chives on top. Serve immediately.