I love southern cooking. Or really, I love a dessert that doesn't hold back. I also love a dessert that someones mom and grandma used to make and that while there are a million different ways to make it- everyone has their way of doing so. The right way; how they remember it.
What I love about it, besides all the butter and bold flavors, is the process. While I grew up as far from the south as you can get, I understand the feeling of having something taste just so, perfect not only because of the ingredients and recipe, but because of the memory. I feel this way about a lot of things I've made and shared- blondies, banana bread, peanut butter cookies- and don't even get me started on German Chocolate Cake....
So here is my first attempt at bread pudding. Crispy, buttery bread, creamy sweet custard, and whiskey soaked raisins.
The jury is still out, but it made my house smell delicious and I think that's a start. And hey, if you live in Seattle it is featured as a special at The Sexton - so you can let me know how it stands up.
Bourbon Bread Pudding
Adapted from Cooks Country Cookbook
1 baguette, torn into one inch pieces (around 9 cups)
1 cup whole milk
3 cups cream
8 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 dark molasses
1 1/2 packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 450 and spread torn bread pieces in a single layer on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake until toasted, around 10 minutes rotating the sheet pan half way through cooking time. Remove bread, let cool and reduce oven heat to 300 degrees.
Add 1/2 cup bourbon and raisins to small sauce pan. Heat over medium high heat until bourbon begins to bubble. It should take around 2-3 minutes to get the raisins plump. Remove from head and strain out raisins, keeping bourbon and raisins in separate bowls.
In a large bowl combine milk, cream, egg yolks, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk to combine. Whisk in bourbon from plumping raisins and 1/4 cup warm dark molasses.
Mix in bread toasted bread and let sit until bread is soft- approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the bread to absorb some of the custard.
Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan and pour half of the bread custard mix into the pan. Top with raisins and then add the remaining bread mix. Cover with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile mix granulated sugar, cinnamon, and butter together in a small bowl until you have small pea size dollops of sugary butter. After pudding bakes for 45 minutes, remove tin foil, top with butter crumble and make another 20 minutes with out tin foil. Turn up oven temp to 400 and cook for 2 more minutes, or until the top bread is crispy and golden brown.
Let cook for 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream or on its own. This dessert also goes well with cowboy boots, large antique silver spoons, and a tall glass of bourbon lemonade. Just saying...