I love bread pudding but had never made it before. It’s just not a part of the many dessert traditions in my family. But, I knew this was something I wanted to try, so we made it for Christmas dinner. I really like bread pudding because it is a rustic, peasant-type dish that uses ingredients (day-old bread) that would typically be discarded.
Making this recipe could really not be simpler, plus no fancy equipment is needed! You simply break up the bread into pieces, but it in the baking dish, then pour a custard of milk, eggs, sugar, and spices over it. Then, bake it. But don’t forget the sauce–this dish is best served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or drizzled with a sauce that you can make with rum or whiskey. The sauce is a tad more complicated than the bread pudding itself–just don’t forget the cornstarch (a thickening agent) and gently cook it until it is slightly thick. Also, I kind of hate raisins. So, I baked it without the raisins and then drizzled them on top for everyone else!
- 12 slices day-old baguette, cut into 3/4-inch
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup raisins
- WHISKEY SAUCE
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup bourbon, whiskey, OR rum
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Spread the bread cubes in it.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well blended. Pour in the milk and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes. Let stand, pressing down on the bread occasionally, until it is evenly soaked, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 350°F.
- Scatter the raisins evenly over the surface of the soaked bread and press to submerge them. Set the baking dish in a large, shallow roasting pan. Add very hot tap water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
- Bake the pudding until a knife inserted near the center comes out almost clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- PREPARE THE SAUCE
- In a 1-quart saucepan set over medium heat, combine the cream, milk, and sugar. Place the cornstarch and half the bourbon in a small mixing bowl and whisk to blend and make a slurry. Pour the slurry into the cream mixture and bring to a boil. Once the sauce begins to boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat, add the salt, and stir in the butter and the remaining bourbon. Serve warm.
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