Simple ingredients and totally delicious – this custard-like Christmas Breakfast Oven Cheese Fondue can be assembled the night before and baked while you’re opening gifts.
There’s something about Christmas breakfast that’s just better than all other breakfasts, in my opinion. I don’t know if it’s nostalgia, the excitement of Christmas morning, being surrounded by family, or perhaps a little bit of it all. But there is something certainly special about Christmas breakfast, wouldn’t you agree?
Ok… so this isn’t a cheese fondue as you mostly likely know it. Oven Cheese Fondue has been described as the ‘poor man’s fondue’ – what you would make when you don’t have a lot for dipping and you need to make the ingredients you have stretch. I believe my mom adapted this recipe from her old 1970’s Betty Crocker book, but I can’t be certain as she no longer has a copy.
Growing up, we always had oven cheese fondue Christmas morning. My mom would put it together the night before, and then as we opened presents she would pop it in the oven. By the time all of the gifts were opened Christmas breakfast was ready! To make the event even more special, mom used her fine crystal to serve mimosas. Of course as children we were given orange juice, but nonetheless it was served in crystal stemware. As I got a little older, but still not quite of drinking age, I was finally allowed to enjoy a mimosa along with everyone else; but I always topped off my glass with a bit more champagne when no one was looking 😉 Of course now that I’m an adult and pregnant with a girl due in January, it looks like I’m back to orange juice this year.
The ingredients in this dish are simple, and you may very well have everything in your pantry. However, there does need to be some consideration given to the bread. When selecting a loaf, you may be thinking that you want something of the artisanal variety. But think of the bread as being a vehicle for flavor, rather than adding flavor. Artisanal breads are generally chewy and have larger holes – not ideal for soaking up the surrounding flavors and adding a custard-like consistency. Believe it or not, a simple good-quality white sandwich bread is the best! It’s soft, pillowy, and has a fine hole structure, which makes for better flavor absorption and retention.
Simple ingredients, quickly assembled, and totally delicious – this oven cheese fondue makes a fantastic breakfast not just on Christmas morning, but it also makes for a show-stopper of a dish for any breakfast or brunch throughout the year!
- a pat of unsalted butter
- 10 slices good quality white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- 3 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- hot sauce, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and rub the butter on the bottom and sides of an 8×8 baking dish.
- In a large bowl add the bread, cheese and shallots. In a smaller bowl, combine the beaten eggs and milk, whisk until slightly frothy. Then whisk in the dry mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Add the egg and milk mixture to the large bowl of dry ingredients. Gently fold to combine (make sure you don’t smash the cubes of bread).
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake uncovered for 1 hour, or until the crust is set. Sprinkle with parsley, serve, and enjoy!