whiskey bread pudding recipe
This Thanksgiving I made 3 desserts. It seems like a lot, but then again long, lovely meals are about lingering at the table. And the more desserts you have to try---the longer you will sit and enjoy. I firmly believe if 'Thanksgiving' and 'desserts' are in the same sentence: all bets are off. You can open your plate for business, pile it high, guffaw at nearby dieters. You can hit the gym Monday.
I made a classic apple pie---I had to make at least ONE pie lest they take my firstborn for ransom.
I made a pumpkin creme brulee---the perfect foil for someone who thinks pumpkin pie is a bit much, but cheesecake is too heavy. It is the perfect dessert for Baby bear: not too hot, not too cold but just right. What was the name of that children's story again? Oh: Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I will make pumpkin creme brulee again, you can be sure. It really was just perfect.
The 3rd dessert I made was whiskey bread pudding. I was on a mission to make bread pudding for Thanksgiving; it is a favorite of my father's and a recent obsession of mine. I started with a recipe off the food network and reworked it. Perhaps the best discovery? After the fact. I made too much on purpose, knowing bread pudding would make for a smug-mug breakfast the next few days. What I failed to intuit was the fact that I could slice bread pudding into bite size squares, put in a party-skewer and serve them as 'finger-food.' Two days after Thanksgiving, we hosted a game-potluck night at our house. Friends brought salads and chili, I threw together some apps and dessert-bites. Which included: bites of bread pudding standing tall in a pool of whiskey sauce. Nobody complained.
Whiskey Bread Puddingserves 8.
5 eggs 1 cup sugar 1 T vanilla extract large pinch nutmeg large pinch cinnamon I stick of butter, melted 2 cups heavy cream 1 (12-inch) loaf bread (day-old, crusty); I used brioche* 1/4 cup raisins 1/3 cup whiskey 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Whiskey Sauce 1 cup cream 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon butter 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch 5 tablespoons whiskey
Put raisins in a bowl and cover with the whiskey (overnight is best, but even an hour is better than not at all!). In a bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. Add the sugar and mix in then add the vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, butter, and cream; stir in raisins and nuts. Lay the bread cubes in a 8 by 8 inch square baking dish and pour the custard over the bread. Cover the dish and let it soak overnight in the refrigerator. *IF you use brioche, there is no need to soak ahead or overnight. It is such a soft loaf that you can let is soak for less than an hour and be fine.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the dish with foil and poke holes in it. Bake until bread pudding poofs up, about 40 minutes then remove the foil, and bake another 10 minutes to brown lightly.
For the sauce: in a small saucepan, heat the cream, sugar, cinnamon, and butter together until almost boiling. Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch with the whiskey to dissolve, then stir it into the hot liquid. Bring just to a boil to thicken it (1-2 minutes should be fine).
To serve, pour a few spoonfuls of the whiskey sauce on a dessert plate. Scoop out the desired portion size of the pudding onto plate. You may want to dust with powdered sugar and add a dollop of whipped cream.