Bourbon Bread Pudding

New Orleans Bourbon Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Bread Pudding:
1 (18 to 20-inch) French baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces (10 cups)
1 cup raisins
¾ cup bourbon, divided
8 egg yolks
1½ cups light brown sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

For the Bourbon Sauce:
¼ cup bourbon, divided
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish; set aside.

2. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp and brown, about 12 minutes, turning pieces over halfway through and rotating the baking sheet front to back. Let bread cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

3. Meanwhile, heat raisins and ½ cup bourbon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until bourbon begins to simmer, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the mixture, placing the bourbon and raisins in separate bowls.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar, cream, milk, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk in in the remaining ¼ cup bourbon plus the bourbon used to plump the raisins. Toss in the toasted bread until evenly coated. Let the mixture sit until the bread begins to absorb custard, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. If the majority of the bread is still hard when squeezed, soak for another 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Pour half the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with half the raisins. Repeat with the remaining bread mixture and raisins. Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, mix the granulated sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingers, pinch 6 tablespoons butter into the sugar mixture until the crumbs are the size of small peas. Remove the foil from pudding, sprinkle with the butter mixture, and bake, uncovered, until the custard is just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and bake until the top of the pudding forms a golden crust, about 2 minutes.

7. Let the pudding cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours). Serve alone or with Bourbon Sauce (I strongly recommend the bourbon sauce).

8. To Make the Bourbon Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of bourbon until well combined.

9. Using a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.

10. Take the pan off the heat, and stir in salt, butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons bourbon. Drizzle warm sauce over bread pudding.

(Recipe adapted from Ezra Pound Cake)