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Off the Wall: Brennan's Creole Bread Pudding Using Hot Dog Buns

Brennan's Creole Bread Pudding
Brennan's Creole Bread Pudding

Last week, Christine Ha gave us some tips on what to do with all those leftover hotdog buns from the 4th. That's when EOW reader CameronByars chimed in with her two cents -

"Hot dog buns are also great for making bread pudding, as they are sweeter than other breads."

"Really?" I thought. I never made bread pudding and was under the impression you had to use artisan quality bread to turn out a decent dish. However, after some Googling, Cameron's tip didn't seem all that unusual. Still, I was curious to 1. make bread pudding and 2. see how these hot dog buns would hold up.

In contemplating what recipe I'd use, my eyes were immediately drawn to my bookshelf, where a copy of Houston Classic Desserts sits. And inside was recipe for Brennan's Creole Bread Pudding. Their recipe normally calls for 14 slices of day old French bread. Could a package of old hot dog buns compete?

Pouring our custard mixture over the buns
Pouring our custard mixture over the buns

The short answer is no. I guess I should preface this by saying that I've never actually had Brennan's bread pudding. So, for those of you who have, you're going to have to tell me how it compares. But in my opinion, hot dog buns were just too soft for this recipe. I do like a cakier bread pudding so I might be a bit of a poor judge, but, to me, this was just too soggy.

My friend, on the other hand, an apparent lover of soggy bread, thought it was great. One thing is for sure, the flavor was incredible. How can you go wrong with cinnamon, nutmeg, tons of sugar, and a sweet and creamy whiskey sauce? You really can't. It's certainly a good way to use up those old hot dog buns, but next time, I think I'll be using something else.

Hot dog! My version of Brennan's Bread Pudding.
Hot dog! My version of Brennan's Bread Pudding.

Does anyone have a tried and true bread pudding recipe? Have you ever used hot dog buns for it? If so, how'd yours turn out? And if Brennan's version is supposed to be super soggy, then put me in the kitchen and call me chef! Otherwise, let's just say...live and learn.

Brennan's Creole Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 14 bread slices, 1-inch thick
  • 1 cups raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan pieces

Method:

Preheat the oven to 300F.

In a large bowl, blend the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk in the eggs, milk, cream and vanilla

Tear the bread into big, bite-sized pieces and place in a lightly buttered 9-by-13-inch pan.

Pour the custard mixture over the bread and allow to soak until soft, about 1 hour. Stir the raisins into the pudding and top with nuts. Bake uncovered 1 1/2 hours.

Rye Whiskey Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 9 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup rye whiskey

Method:

Heat the cream and sugar in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-high heat until mixture begins to boil.

Mix the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl until smooth; slowly whisk into simmering cream. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes.

Put the yolks into a stainless steel bowl; whisk. Temper the yolks by slowly whisking 1 cup hot, thickened cream mixture into yolks. Return the yolk mixture to hot cream mixture, whisking in slowly. After mixture is whisked together, cook over medium-low heat until mixture reaches 140F. Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer.

Add the whiskey, adjusting to taste, and keep warm until ready to use.

Notes:

The sauce can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When reheating, be sure to use a moderate temperature so the egg in the sauce doesn't curdle. Yields 8 to 12 servings.

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Brennan's of Houston

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