Baked ham and cheese savory custard

Servings: 6

3 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Freshly grated nutmeg

Salt

About 5½ tablespoons butter, softened

1 loaf (about 14 slices) white bread, sliced ½ inch think, crusts removed

8 ounces finely sliced ham

1 2/3 cups coarsely grated Fontina, Edam, sweet Pecorino or similar cheese

2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter a 12 x 8 x 2-inch ovenproof dish.

Whip the eggs in a bowl, then whisk in the milk and cream. Season with a good grinding of nutmeg and a touch of salt. Butter the bread slices on one side only. Lay half of them, buttered side up, in the dish in a slightly overlapping layer. If you need to, cut the slices so that they snugly cover the bottom of the dish. Pour over half the eggy milk and leave for 5 minutes for the bread to soak some of it up.

Layer half the ham over the bread and then sprinkle with half the Fontina and Parmesan cheeses.

Repeat the bread and butter layer, then cover with the remaining eggy milk and the rest of the ham. Press down gently on the ham so that some of the eggy milk leaks through, then finish off with the rest of the cheese.

Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden and crusty here and there. Turn off the oven, open the door and leave the custard inside to cool for a while before cutting into serving quarters. Serve warm.

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