Try an alternative to bread sauce with this spiced bread gratin recipe – spiced with bay leaves, mace, cloves and nutmeg.
400ml double cream
600ml whole milk
6 fresh bay leaves
4 mace blades
50g unsalted butter, plus an extra knob, melted, for brushing
2 onions, finely chopped
Whole fresh nutmeg for grating
3 large free-range eggs, plus 3 yolks
350g crustless good quality white bread, torn into chunks (see tips)
01.Heat the double cream, milk, 4 of the bay leaves, the cloves and mace in a pan until the liquid steams. Remove from the heat and leave to cool and infuse for 60 minutes.
02.Melt the butter in a frying pan with the onions, then cook gently for 5-10 minutes until the onions are softened but not coloured. Grate over a good amount of nutmeg while they’re cooking. Remove from the pan and leave to cool.
03.Mix the eggs and yolks in a jug and strain over the milk and cream mixture. Season, then stir well.
04.Heat the oven to 160°C/fan140°C/ gas 3. Layer the bread chunks with the onions in a 1.5 litre ovenproof gratin dish. Pour over the milk mixture, tuck in the remaining 2 bay leaves, then bake for 20 minutes or until heated through but still slightly wobbly in the centre. Remove from the oven, cool, then wrap in cling film and freeze for up to 1 month.
05.To serve, defrost, brush the top with the melted butter, then heat in a 170°C/fan150°C/gas 31⁄2 oven for 20-30 minutes until golden on top and bubbling around the edges (flash it under a hot grill if it needs to be more golden). Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then serve.