Bread puddings are boring, right? Well, they are. Ever since the restaurants ruined them by overdoing it (on every menu in mid- to low-end restaurants and practically all diners), or doing it wrong (soggy, disgusting messes), or re-engineering it too much (pumpkin sage bread pudding).
I like my bread pudding simple and straightforward.
I think that simplicity and straightforwardness in this Fine Cooking recipe have converted people who would not eat bread pudding (or are total bread pudding snobs) into bread pudding lovers. But beware of the calories. I know that something like this does not belong in a blog like this but life is not about deprivation and if you don’t occasionally treat yourself, then you will over do it in other ways. Believe me I know what I am talking about.
Anyway, I digress. I make this in small ramekins for the most part because when done in 6-oz ramekins, the calories add up and very quickly.
For the Pudding
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 3 Tbs. bourbon (grand marnier will do if you are in a bind)
- 5 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 lb. stale white bread with crusts, preferably Italian or French, torn into 1-inch pieces
For the Bourbon Sauce
- 1.5 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 Tbs. bourbon
First do the pudding: In a 1-quart saucepan over low heat, combine the raisins and bourbon and heat and stir until the liquid is evaporated and the raisins are plump, about 8-10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar, vanilla, spices, and salt. Stir in the cream until well blended. Toss in the torn bread and plumped raisins and stir. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the bread to soak up the liquid. TIP: You can make this far ahead of time and refrigerate the mixture for 3-4 hours.
Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter eight 6-oz. (or 10-12 4- to 5-oz ones) ramekins. Fill the ramekins about 3/4ths. Pour any remaining custard over the top of each. Set the cups in a baking pan or shallow roasting pan and add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the puddings are browned on top about 30-40 minutes.
While the pudding is baking, make the sauce: In another small saucepan, combine the cinnamon, cream and sugar. Dissolve the sugar over medium heat and let the mixture come slowly to a boil. Cook, simmering gently, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon. Serve the sauce on the side.
Since the bourbon in the sauce will not burn off, you will have a somewhat lively (not strong) bourbon taste… If you are serving to kids or people who act like kids, then skip the sauce or don’t share. More for you.
Here is the nutrition information on this recipe, for both 8 servings (6-oz ramekins) or 12 servings (4-5 oz ones):