Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce
May 5, 2010 4 Comments
In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s May. MAY, people. Although I’m incredibly grateful to have survived another Chicago winter (a mild one. Thanks, Mother Nature!), I can’t believe how fast time is going. It seems like just yesterday I was whipping up red velvet cupcakes in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. May is one of my fave months, mainly because there is no chance of snow (knock on wood), but also because it’s both Mother’s Day and my mom’s birthday. As someone who would seriously do crafts all day long if allowed and could easily spend a month’s salary at Michaels in an hour, you can imagine that as a kid, I loved that entire school days were spent making Mother’s Day presents. One year we made jewelry boxes out of cigar boxes topped with macaroni sprayed gold (query the wisdom of having 6 year olds ask their parents to purchase a box of cigars for that project) and another time we made collages of our baby pictures (I’m sure my mother appreciated me cutting up family photos).
At some point in life, it stops being appropriate to make your mother a present and you actually have to save up your allowance and purchase something. Enter many bottles of 2nd rate perfumes and tangles of costume jewerly (to be stored in the jewelry box she’s saved all those years). The thing is, no matter what you give your mom, she loves it–truly and honestly–because she loves you. And that is why you will always see men in Walgreens the morning of Mother’s Day buying huge mylar balloons and Russell Stover candy.
My mother, thank goodness, cannot stand the idea of Mother’s Day brunch, so we have been spared chaffing dishes and carving stations over the years. We usually go out to dinner, but a few years ago I decided to cook. Mom had gone to New Orleans and brought back a cookbook from the Gumbo Shop, so I decided to make a Louisiana dinner of gumbo and bread pudding. Even though I’ve always loved cooking and baking, it wasn’t until recently that I actually had a bit of a clue on how things worked in the kitchen and how to interpret a recipe. So when the gumbo recipe said that I needed to boil a whole chicken in order to make stock, it never occurred to me that I could buy chicken stock. Or that I didn’t actually need to cut the French bread into 1 inch cubes; tearing it up into relatively even pieces would be quite all right. I spent the entire day in the kitchen, stirring and cutting and sauteeing and rather than relaxing on Mother’s Day, my mom spent most of the day worrying that (i) I was going to set the entire kitchen on fire and (ii) that I was doing too much. I think that she was equally grateful to sit down to dinner (likely at 9pm) as she was for all of my effort. This was likely 6 or 7 years ago, and all these years later she still talks about how hard I worked that day. Like she never went out above and beyond in the kitchen for me (she has).
I promise to write about the gumbo recipe soon (I bought chicken stock this past weekend), but I’m going to recommend you commit this bread pudding recipe to memory before Sunday and impress your mom (or aunt or mom-to-be or friend-who-is-like-a-mom or just someone you really love). It is decadence on a plate and a tip of whiskey mixed with butter and sugar never hurt anyone. I know a lot of folks have had bad (read: soggy) bread pudding experiences, but this version is more like a super moist cake. When I did it for Mother’s Day, I made whipped cream instead of the sauce, but after making the sauce on Sunday, I pretty much plan on putting it on everything I ever bake again. So yeah, stick with the sauce.
I took my mom some of the bread pudding I made over the weekend and she said it was even better than the one I made all those years ago. Of course, that got her started talking about how hard I worked that day and how she can’t believe that I spent the whole day in the kitchen making everything from scratch just for her. But I, and everyone who has ever met my mom, knows that she is totally, completely, without a doubt, would do it again (and then some) in a heartbeat, worth it…
Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce (from the Gumbo Shop Cookbook)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 cups milk
- 2 quarts (1 1/2 loaves) day old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup cubed pineapple (I omitted)
- 1/2 cup raisins (I upped it to 1 cup)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (this isn’t in the original recipe, but I like the taste of it)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 large eggs, beaten
Combine the milk and butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter is melted. In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread, pineapple and raisins and toss to mix. Add the milk and butter mixture, mix and let it stand for several minutes, allowing the bread to absorb the liquid.
Mix the sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the vanilla to the beaten eggs, then mix in the sugar and spices. Pour all this over the bread and milk mixture and mix well.
Transfer the pudding to a greased 1 1/2 quart baking pan (I used a brownie pan) and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm, topped with about 3 tablespoons of Whiskey Sauce.
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 jigger (3 tablespoons) bourbon
Using an electric mixtuer, slowly cream the sugar into the butter. Slowly beat in the bourbon.