Monday, April 16, 2012

Bourbon Bread Pudding

Did I tell you I bought the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook?  I did, I think.  And did I tell you how sad I am to discover it once I've left Savannah, once I no longer frequent the Bull Street library right near the bakery, once it's no longer on my drive to and from work?


Anyway, consider yourself told now.  I love this cookbook.  It's beautiful and vintage and I sit and read it just to smell Savannah's air and let my heart cry because I miss it so much.  Cookbooks affect me.  It features full color photos, tips and tidbits, and simple ingredients for amazing desserts.

I went through my cookbooks a couple weeks ago and marked everything I wanted to make with a yellow Post-It.  Nick came home and I told him he could choose one item each week that I'd make for Naps and Zerts.  He gets his sugar while I get to release some stress.  Last week, he chose the Back in the Day Bakery Creole Brownies.  Decadence filled the mixing bowls: three different chocolates, hot espresso and lots of butter.  They were great, but that's way too much chocolate for me.  If you love chocolate, give them a whirl.

This week, Bourbon Bread Pudding was chosen.  This dish initially worried me because it involved custard and bread and I've never attempted anything like it.  But I told Nicholas I'd make it for him, and I'm not one to go back on my word.  I read the recipe, made a shopping list, and told myself I could do it.

And I did.

And I wish I'd made a triple batch.

That photo is too brightly lit and I apologize.  But I had to get a picture while it was hot and before Nick devoured it.  While warm, this pudding melts in your mouth; the glaze and custard filled the challah's holes and there wasn't a single bite without comfort.  Nothing burnt, nothing tasted like French toast; it was pudding, and it was wonderful.

The recipe makes a 9" x 13" dish, and that's enough for one Nicholas or an entire family at the holidays.  Once it's cold--wait as long as possible to chill it--it solidifies, making it easy to cut and wrap for friends or for breakfast at work.  I know some people aren't dessert-for-breakfast people, which I think is just weird.  It's sugar.  Get your day going the right way.

Please make this and then tell me how good it was.

From Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, by Cheryl and Griffith Day

For the pudding:
  • 12 Tbsp (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish (I always use Pam or Baker's Joy because it's way easier)
  • 1.5 lbs ciabatta, brioche or challah, cut into 1.5-inch cubes (9 cups) (Again, I used challah)
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup golden raisins
For the bourbon glaze
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  1. Make the pudding: preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack set in the lower third of the oven.  Lightly butter a 9" x 13" baking dish; set aside.
  2. Place bread in a large bowl.  Add half-and-half and toss to soak.  Set aside at room temperature.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium hear.  Remove from hear and add both sugars and vanilla; stir until smooth and well-combined.
  4. In a medium bowl, whish eggs,  Whisk in butter mixture until smooth and well-combined.  Pour over bread, tossing until well-combined.
  5. Pour bread mixture into prepared baking dish, spreading evenly.  Sprinkle raisins over top and gently work into pudding, making sure liquid covers the bread.  Cover baking dish with aluminum foil.  Transfer to over and bake for 55 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking until bread pudding is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Make the glaze: Once the bread is out of the oven, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from hear and add bourbon and confectioner's sugar, stirring until incorporated.  Add cream and mix until smooth.  Pour glaze over top of bread pudding and let stand 15 minutes before serving.  Bread pudding is best served warm, but can be kept refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to four days.

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