Thursday, July 21, 2011

Something Sweet - Louisiana Style

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Creme Sauce
The list of dessert's I really love is fairly short.  One near the top of that list is Bread Pudding; can't resist it anywhere.  If it's on a restaurant menu and I'm actually having dessert, that's my choice. What's not to love?  It's sweet comfort food in a puffy custard that's laced with raisins and doused in Bourbon.  That is to say, "buhbun, dahlin'".  To add prettiness, you may top off with real whipped creme if you'd like.  Oh my gracious, that's what decadence taste's like.  

When I make Bread Pudding at home, I always feel so frugal; I'm saving bread, after all, that would otherwise be lost to the world.  Bread Pudding is, to me, an elaborate casserole version of "Pain Perdu" or lost bread, the ubiquitous brunch delight better known as French Toast. 

My bread choices for making Bread Pudding are French or Italian, but any good hearty bread will be just fine.  Croissant's also work well I'm told, although, I would never ever have enough left over to make a decent sized Bread Pudding, given my affection for the flaky little swirls.  There are so many ways Croissant's can be used.  Sandwiches for lunch with chicken or tuna salad or at breakfast with jam.  But that's another recipe/writing.  Bread Pudding coming up!  

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Creme Sauce

1 loaf French Bread
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
3 cups milk
1 cup half and half
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 stick butter
Generous grind of fresh nutmeg
1/2 - 1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons bourbon

Cut the loaf of bread into cubes, place on a jelly roll pan and put into a warm oven for about 10 minutes.  The bread will feel a bit dry on the outside, but still soft on the inside.  Butter a large casserole dish and scatter the bread cubes into the dish.  

Ready to mix...

Into a mixing bowl add the eggs and sugar and mix until pale yellow.  Add the milk, half & half, vanilla and almond extract and mix very well.  Melt the butter and blend into the custard.  Grind the nutmeg over the milk mixture to your taste (I like a generous amount) and stir.  

Sousing the raisins...
Plump the raisins in warm water and drain well.  Add the bourbon to the raisins, stir and set-aside.  If no one objects to the addition of raisins, after the sousing add them to the custard then pour over the bread cubes.  However, The Horn Player is not a raisin lover so I found a way to work with his preference.

Half with...half without...

Pour the custard over the bread cubes and allow a bit of time for the bread to soak.  Just before baking, for persnickety raisin haters, nestle the raisins in between the bread cubes on half the dish.  Bake in a bain marie at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour.  I begin checking on its progress at about 45 minutes to be sure it's not overcooked. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool slightly. Next we make the Bourbon Creme Sauce...which tastes remarkably like Egg Nog.

Bourbon Creme Sauce

1 cup creme or half and half
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)
Grind of fresh nutmeg

Into a sauce pot add the creme and heat to scalding point.  Mix the cornstarch and water well.  Pour into the scalded creme and stir until slightly thickened.  Add the sugar and bourbon and mix well.  Add a bit of freshly ground nutmeg and stir.  

Ladle over the warm pudding, about half the sauce and reserve the rest for each serving.  Add a bit of sauce to the bottom of a shallow bowl and place a wedge of the bread pudding over the sauce.  Serve with hot, rich coffee to enjoy a slice of Louisiana.

Delicious and decadently rich!

No comments:

Post a Comment