I bought of loaf of french bread on Thursday, roasted a few onions in balsamic and rosemary for an hour and served my jet-setting businessman husband some bruschetta upon his return from Toronto that night. Having half a loaf left, I thought what better idea than to prepare bread pudding for the weekend. After debating and debating over which recipe to use, I settled on New Orleans bread pudding since the recommended bread of choice was French or Italian. It was nothing short of wonderful, let me tell you. New Orleans bread pudding is soaked for an hour in the traditional eggs/milk/sugar/cinnamon combination then in the oven for an hour. But what sets it apart is the Southern Whiskey Sauce that is drizzled over the piping hot pudding. It gives it a grown-up taste that I particularly enjoyed and will make again someday soon.
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking :: New Orleans Bread Pudding
"Like a warm sticky bun drenched in butter and bourbon." (I was sold right then and there)
Since I only had half a loaf, I changed the amounts of things as I saw fit...
Spread over a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, preferably glass ::
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices ::
1 1/4 pounds French or Italian bread (1 1/2 to 2 loaves)
Arrange the slices almost upright in tightly spaced rows in the prepared pan. Tuck between the slices ::
1 cup raisins (I substituted raisins for currants)
Whisk until frothy ::
3 large eggs (I used one)
Whisk in ::
4 cups whole milk
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pour the liquid over the bread and let stand for 1 hour, pressing down now and then with a spatula to wet the tops of the slices.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake the pudding until the top is puffed and lightly browned, about 1 hour. For me, it took exactly 1 hour. Cover with ::
Southern Whiskey Sauce (recipe follows)
Let cool on a rack for 30 to 60 minutes, then cut into squares and serve. Leftover sauced pudding will keep for several days in the refrigerator and can be reheated in a 300 degree F oven for 15 minutes.
Southern Whiskey Sauce ::
Makes about 1 2/3 cups; 8 to 12 servings (I halved this)
Melt over low heat in a small, heavy saucepan ::
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
Stir in, using a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon ::
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup bourbon or other whiskey (we used Makers 47 - what we had on hand, I married a Kentucky man)
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is blended. Remove from the heat. Whisk until light and frothy ::
1 large egg
Vigorously whisk the egg into the liquor mixture. Set the sauce over medium heat and, stirring gently, bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 1 minute. The sauce will not curdle. Serve at once, set aside at room temperature for up to 8 hours, or let cool then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat over low heat, stirring; if the sauce separates, remove from the heat and whisk in a little warm water.