When cookbook author Jill Silverman Hough told me she has a recipe for a Chanterelle and Gruyère Savory Bread Pudding I begged her to let me share it with our readers. What could be more aphrodisiac than a warm, creamy mushroom and melted cheese bread pudding filled with two of my favorite aphrodisiacs? Yes, both chanterelle mushrooms and Gruyère cheese are aphrodisiacs.
Why chanterelle mushrooms are aphrodisiac
If you’ve never experienced a chanterelle, you’re in for a treat. (This is assuming you’re a mushroom lover.) When cooked, these wild mushrooms have a texture that’s at once meaty and melt-in-your-mouth.
Their flavor is sometimes described as fruity but that may be more because their scent is somewhat like an unripe apricot. I don’t find the flavor particularly fruity but it is definitely more delicate and feminine than some of the bold and woodsy mushrooms.
And like all mushrooms, the chanterelle is considered aphrodisiac. However, the science world tells us it’s probably more aphrodisiac for women than for men. And it all goes back to a South Pacific legend told of a woman who experienced sexual ecstasy from eating wild mushrooms.
Scientists suspect the effect comes from a hormone-like compound present in the forest fungus. This compound appears to have some similarity to human neurotransmitters released in females during sexual encounters. (Sorry, guys!)
But mushrooms may still be equal-opportunity aphrodisiacs. That’s because they are also a source of zinc, which is considered essential to men’s sexual health. So there’s no reason men should miss out.
The link between cheese and sex
As for cheese, it’s not only among the most sensual foods, some say the scents of certain cheeses are a turn-on. And did you know that cheese helps kill bacteria in your mouth? A cheese eater is the perfect kisser, which is why I’m saying you should consider making a cheese bread pudding for your next date night.
Notes for making this recipe
This recipe doesn’t require any particularly special equipment but you will need a 2-quart casserole dish. Or, if you would like to serve individual bread puddings for a more creative presentation, you will need 1 1/2 cup ramekins.
If you want to make bread pudding for two, you can cook just two ramekins for a romantic dinner and hold the remaining ramekins overnight. Just cover and refrigerate the remaining four ramekins and you can cook them for a hot brunch the next morning.
As for ingredients, most of the ingredients in this bread pudding recipe are fairly basic. Chanterelle mushrooms are sold at gourmet and health food retailers when they are in season, which is generally late fall through early spring. If you live in an area where these wild mushrooms grow, you may be lucky enough to find them at a local farmers’ market.
Although it is foreign, Gruyère is a fairly popular and common cheese. You can even order some through Amazon. The cheese is a firm, Swiss variety that is popular, in part, because it is excellent for melting. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding it at your local grocery store.
Wine pairing tips
Because this is an easy bread pudding recipe, it is one that’s great for a romantic evening. But it’s also a great vegetarian main course option to serve at a dinner party. And what makes every party, or romantic dinner for that matter, better? A great glass of wine is a key ingredient to any gathering as far as I’m concerned.
One of the things I love about Jill’s recipes, besides the fact that they’re easy to follow, is that she always provides wine-pairing suggestions. In fact, this recipe comes from Jill’s book 100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love. So the wine pairing has been a part of this savory bread pudding recipe since its conception.
Jill recommends serving it with a Chardonnay. And best of all, she suggests pairing the wine with your mood rather than the flavor. Pick a big buttery Chardonnay to echo the creamy indulgence of the savory bread pudding when you need your meal to pamper. And if you feel like something with a little spark, pick a Chardonnay with a crisp, acidic bite to give your meal sensual contrast.
Chanterelle and Gruyère Bread Pudding
- 3 cups milk low-fat is okay
- 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp chopped fresh sage
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan
- 6 oz Chanterelle mushrooms coarsely sliced (you should have about 2 1/2 cups)
- 1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
- 5 large eggs
- 12 oz crusty artisan French or Italian bread with crusts, cut or torn into 3/4-inch pieces (you should have about 12 cups)
- 8 oz Gruyère cheese shredded (you should have about 3 cups)
- Optional special equipment: six 1 1/2-cup soufflé molds or ramekins
- Butter a 2-quart casserole dish or six 1 1/2-cup soufflé molds or ramekins. If using 6 molds, arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk, rosemary, thyme, sage, and pepper and heat until just shy of simmer¬ing. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mush¬rooms are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Whisk in the cooled milk mixture. Add the bread, cheese, and mushroom mixture, stirring until well combined. Set aside for 15 minutes, gently stirring occasionally, for the bread to absorb the liquid.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Pour the entire mixture into the prepared casserole dish or soufflé molds. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve hot.
This recipe was originally published in February, 2018 and updated in February 2021.
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