This fantastic breakfast bread pudding is a fun, all-in-one take on French toast with maple syrup and sausage. Melted ice cream enriches the “custard” base. Slideshow: More Savory Bread Pudding Recipes
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over moderately high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until nicely browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl and let cool.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the ice cream, water, sage, salt and 1/2 cup of the maple syrup. Fold in the sausage and brioche. Scrape the mixture into a 9-inch square or 2-quart oval baking dish and let stand for 15 minutes. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is browned and the center is set.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, boil the remaining 1/2 cup of maple syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat; whisk in the cream. Serve the bread pudding with the maple cream.
The unbaked bread pudding can be made up to 6 hours ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.