BBC Countryfile Magazine




2 tbsp Dijon mustard, plus more to serve

60g butter, softened, plus more to grease the dish

About 200g day-old focaccia or baguette, thinly sliced

250g ricotta

350ml whole milk

300ml double (heavy) cream

About 8 sage leaves, chopped, or ½ small bunch of chives, thyme or oregano, leaves picked as relevant and finely chopped

5 eggs, beaten

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

400g cherry tomatoes, halved

80g Cheddar, gruyère or comté cheese, coarsely grated

If daubing day-old focaccia with a mustard butter on one side and thick clouds of ricotta on the other, then baking with an egg custard all dotted with cherry tomatoes and sage leaves sounds up your street, then this is the recipe for you. Serve it warm, never piping hot, for the flavours to fuse and the different components to settle and slump all together, as one. A green salad, dressed with a light vinaigrett­e, or some steamed vegetables (green beans would be nice), make a fine serving suggestion to compensate for the dairy in this recipe.


1 Preheat the oven to 165°C/145°C fan/320°F/ gas mark 2–3. Butter a 25cm baking dish.

2 In a bowl, beat together the Dijon mustard and butter.

3 Butter the slices of bread on one side with the mustard butter. On the other side, spread each with a layer of ricotta. Arrange the bread, buttered side up, in overlappin­g rows to fill the dish.

4 In a mixing bowl, whisk the milk, cream, herbs and eggs and season well with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and a good pinch or two of salt. Pour this mixture over the bread and leave the dish for 15 minutes.

5 Add the tomatoes evenly over the top, then sprinkle over the cheese. Bake for 40–45 minutes, until the custard is set, but still a bit wobbly in the centre of the dish, the top golden brown and the sides bubbling.

6 Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10–15 minutes before serving with extra Dijon on the side, if you like.

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