Let’s face it: Bread pudding is not the most exciting dessert in the world. It often looks like a gloppy mess, and its main ingredient is stale bread. In fact, bread pudding is essentially a conduit for leftover bread; in thrifty (or poor) households throughout the world, and in mindful restaurants, it’s a way to use bread whose crust has hardened but whose dough still has a bit of sponginess left, instead of merely throwing it out.
That doesn’t mean bread pudding has to suck.
Here, we present a recipe for bread pudding that actually rivals chocolate cake, apple pie, and flan, mainly thanks to the ingredient we use to liven up that stale bread: Good ol’ Kentucky bourbon. Mix it up with caramel and cream, and you’ve got one hell of a sauce. Plus, the bread is treated so that it’s almost French toast-like, making for a dessert made from leftovers that might even re-surface as breakfast—though you’ll probably polish this off first.
- 3 cups stale bread, cut into 1- inch cubes
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 cups milk, warm (or you may use half and half)
- 5 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons corn syrup
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small pinch fleur de sel, optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl combine the beaten eggs, cinnamon and cubed bread. Pour this into an 8- inch baking dish (or 2 quart baking dish).
- Combine the sugar, vanilla, milk, and salt and pour into the baking dish over the bread cubes.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil. Cook until the sugar is dissolved. Use a pastry brush and water to wipe down the intertior sides of the pot where the sugar may be sticking. This will prevent that part from burning.
- Continue cooking, without stirring, until the sugar turns amber in color. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream. Let cool for 1 minute, then stir in the bourbon.
- Place the pot back on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil over and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat, add the butter and let the caramel sauce cool slightly. Pour over the bread pudding and serve.