Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bread Pudding

Fall is officially here and with fall comes a desire for warm, hearty comfort foods. Typically when I think of fall I think of sweet potato and pecan pie, pumpkin and banana nut bread, apple crisps and peach cobbler…but today my thoughts were centered around bread pudding. I had never tried bread pudding before so I was a little unsure of how this would taste. Would the bread be too soggy? Would it taste any different than French toast? What is so exciting about bread pudding? Well…now I know.

I didn’t have time to make my own challah for the bread pudding this time around because I am a right now kind of gal - and did not want to wait a day or two for the challah to get stale. So, off to Trader Joe’s I go to get some Tuscan Pane artisan bread. The entire recipe may seem a little complex because I am a little “extra” or at least that’s what they tell me. But the basic recipe is really quite simple.

Bread Pudding

1 loaf French bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6 cups)
1 qt milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 cup raisins (soaked in 1/4 cup bourbon)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Soak the bread in the milk in a large dish or mixing bowl until all of the milk is absorbed. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices. Gently stir into the bread mixture. Incorporate the raisins into the mixture gently. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with baking spray. Pour in the bread mixture and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, or until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. You can also make in individual ramekins, which is my personal favorite in terms of presentation. Note: Bread pudding tastes best when eaten the day it is made.

Alcohol makes everything taste better! So my bread pudding would not be complete without a warm bourbon or caramel sauce.

Bourbon Sauce

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons bourbon
Pinch of salt

Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Simmer until thickened, whisking often, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly.

Caramel Sauce
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter with all three sugars and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook over moderately high heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cream and boil for 2 minutes longer. Stir in the vanilla and salt and serve.

AND…I did mention I was a little “extra”, didn’t I? I had to go and add some homemade vanilla bean ice-cream. Viola! Dessert was served.

Vanilla Icecream (Cuisinart recipe)

1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/8 cups granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Turn the machine on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Now, needless to say, I will have to add in a few extra crunches and an additional day of cardio. But hey, what’s life without a few sweet treats? Enjoy! I know I did. 

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, baked by Virtually Everything Sweet, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent. 

1 comment:

  1. Man I made this bread pudding with the bourbon sauce (Makers Mark) and I SWEAR this is the best bread pudding I have ever had!!!! Good stuff!!!