- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup sliced yellow onions
- 1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, such as oyster, shiitake, chanterelles, wood ear, or porcini, stems trimmed (discard stems is using shiitakes), wiped clean, and sliced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons Essence or Creole Seasoning 
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup lager beer
- 5 large eggs
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Gouda
- 3/4 cup freshly grated white Cheddar
- 3/4 pound stale white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 10 cups)
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon dried fine bread crumbs
In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown and tender, 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic, 1 teaspoons of the Essence, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 3/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and have given off their liquid and are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the beer and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and until the mixture is almost dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cream, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, remaining 1 teaspoons of Essence, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and whisk well to blend. Add the cheeses and stir well. Add the bread cubes and let sit until the bread has absorbed the liquid, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with the butter. Add the bread crumbs, shaking to cover the bottom evenly. Pour the bread pudding mixture into the prepared pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour and uncover. Continue baking until the pudding rises and is firm in the center, and golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.
Let cool slightly before serving.