From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.
This week, we're indulging in a classic comfort food: Bread Pudding.
Bread pudding is a dessert consisting of stale bread that is soaked in a custard-like mixture before being baked. It is often spiced with things like cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla and served with a sweet sauce (whiskey, rum, chocolate or caramel based). We know the dish as a Southern classic, however it is popular all over the world, including in places like Argentina, Belgium, India, Ireland, the Philippines, Slovakia and the Puerto Rico, to name a few.
Food historians have traced the dish's origins to the early 11th and 12th centuries, where it was created as a frugal way to use stale bread. In 13th century England, it was referred to as "poor man's pudding." Then, it was likely a simple mixture of stale bread, milk, and some form of fat and sweetener.
Today, the addition of eggs and other flavors, spices, and add-ins like liquors, fruit, nuts, and chocolate have turned the humble dish into something a bit more luxurious. It can even be made savory through the edition of cheese, herbs, vegetables, and meats.
This recipe from Emeril Lagasse, is made "New Orleans style" with a decadent, creamy whiskey sauce drizzled on top. A touch of cinnamon and nutmeg and raisins give the dessert depth.
New Orleans Style Bread Pudding
Ingredients yields 10 to 12 servings For the bread pudding: 12 to 14 cups 1-inch cubes day-old bread (French or Italian) 1 tbsp unsalted butter 2 cups heavy cream 4 cups whole milk 6 large eggs 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp light brown sugar 4 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 cup raisins Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
For the whiskey sauce: 2 cups heavy cream 1/2 cup whole milk 1/2 cup granulated white sugar 2 tbsp cornstarch 3/4 cup bourbon or other whiskey Pinch salt 2 tbsp unsalted butter
Optional: Ice cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place bread cubes in a large bowl. Grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish with butter and set aside.
Combine the heavy cream, milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and raisins in a large bowl. Whisk to mix. Pour the cream mixture over the bread, stirring to combine. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.
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Transfer the bread mixture to the casserole dish and bake until the center of the bread pudding is set, 50 to 60 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the whiskey sauce: In a 1-quart saucepan set over medium heat, combine the cream, milk, and sugar. Place the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of the bourbon in a small mixing bowl, whisking to blend and make a slurry. Pour the slurry into the cream mixture and bring to a boil. Once the sauce begins to boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat, add the salt, and stir in the butter and the remaining 1/2 cup of bourbon.
Garnish the bread pudding with confectioners' sugar and serve warm with warm whiskey sauce. Add a scoop of ice cream if you really want to take it over the top.
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