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Oh, I forgot about dessert!

April 16, 2006

Of course we would have dessert, after all the other food settled. I made bread pudding, because it’s GOOD. Here’s the recipe. I think it’s a Gale Gand recipe, but I got it off Food Network. Looking at it again, I may have modified it slightly. It’s a good recipe, nonetheless. My best rendition of this recipe was when I was in my bread phase, and I baked the loaf. I did an overnight, cold rise of the dough, baked it in the morning, and let it sit out on the counter for a day or so. The bread had lots of flavor from the cool rise and it was a little stale from sitting out, so it turned out really fabulous.

Of course, lately, I find myself without the time to make ANY bread, much less bread that requires mixing in the evening, rising overnight, and baking in the morning. So I used Pepperidge Farm Hearty White, which is recommended in a breakfast bread-pudding-thing I make. The end result? Absolutely terrific. One key thing, I think, was reducing the amount of bread–I only used 12 slices of the 16 in the loaf, so the custard-to-bread ratio was higher. The other key thing was that the Pepperidge Farm bread wasn’t really deeply flavorful on its own, allowing the custardy goodness to come out in full force.

With no further ado, Whiskey Bread Pudding:

For the pudding:
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
8 tablespoons butter, cut up
2 cups cream
1 (12-inch) loaf French bread, crusts cut off and sliced 1-inch cubes (or 11 slices Pepperidge Farm Hearty White bread, and seriously? leave those crusts on. They’re good.)
1/4 cup raisins (I leave these out)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (I leave these out, too)

Whiskey sauce:
1 cup cream
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
5 tablespoons whiskey

Powdered sugar, for dusting
Whipped cream, optional

In a bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. Add the sugar and mix in, then add the vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, butter, and cream. Lay the bread cubes in a 8 by 8 inch square baking dish, sprinkle the nuts and raisins around, and then pour the custard over the bread. Cover the dish and let it soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the dish with foil and poke holes in it. Bake until bread pudding soufflés up, about 40 minutes, then remove the foil, and bake another 10 minutes to brown in lightly.

For the sauce, in a saucepan heat the cream, sugar, cinnamon, and butter together until almost boiling. Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch with the whiskey and stir it into the hot liquid. Bring just to a boil to thicken it.

To serve, pour a few spoonful of the whiskey sauce on a dessert plate. Scoop out the desired portion size of the pudding, placing it on the sauced plate. Dust the pudding with powdered sugar and finish it off with a dollop of whipped cream.

Notes about the recipe: This is a restaurant recipe so uses leftover bread. Save the crusts and dry them in a low oven, then grind them in a food processor to make bread crumbs. [Or, as I mentioned above, leave the crusts on, because they add nice texture to the bread pudding.]

Categories: food
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