- janet of reno
My husband has had some great bread pudding at restaurants lately, and its his new craving...so of course he asked me if I would make it for him. I've never made bread pudding; can't imagine it would be that hard, but would love some good recipes....The one he really liked had cranberries in it...and of course a good whisky sauce is very important! Hounds, can you help?
But then again I don't use a recipe.
You take old dry bread (or pastries!) and soak them in an egg custard base and bake!
I flavor mine with canned peaches, nuts, liquers, chocolate chips, etc.
I think my best was with canned pineapple and I mixed in pina colada mix. (peaches and ginger liquer wasn't bad either)
There are no boundaries. Experiment!
I remember someone here mentioning a bread pudding website. Does anyone remember it?
I haven't my own perfect recipe (aka. a clone of Tartine Bakery's in SF), but in my experience any recipe using plenty of eggs and dairy works will if I decrease the amount of bread by a handful or two, and substitute some of the dairy and sugar with sweetened condensed milk. I like my bread pudding to have large chunks of baked custard (almost like flan), so leaving out some bread works well. It also keeps the pudding from drying out in the oven.
I also prefer to use a really soft bread, like challah or brioche. Some people use pastries, cake, anything! As for the cranberries (which I just had last week at Tartine--can you tell I'm a fan?), you can use them in any basic recipe. Just mix in a handful and spread some on top before baking.
I'm in the opposite camp; mine has a lot of bread. Here's my recipe, adapted from a recipe in "Great Desserts from the Great Chefs."
1 1/2 cups sugar
Approx. 2 lbs bread (I use two loaves of Portugese sweet bread, which is I think about 15 oz/loaf. I take the crust off, which brings it down a bit more. You could use challah, but a soft egg bread is preferable to plain white, which is preferable to anything else.)
2 1/4 cup milk
2 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
Tear up bread and dry in the oven on low until most of the moisture is gone - it doesn't need to be crumbly-dry through, but it should feel dried out rather than spongy.
Beat the eggs with the sugar until nice and thick and light yellow-colored. Bring the milk and cream to a simmer. Pour into the eggs/sugar and whisk it all until it's combined and smooth (it helps to temper it a bit first with just a little of the hot milk mixture). Add the vanilla. Officially, you should throw it through a fine sieve at this point, just in case any tiny bits of eggs hardened, but really, unless you can see big pieces or you're cooking for a four-star restaurant, you can skip it. Now put the bread in a buttered casserole dish and pour the custard.
Here's my "special trick" point.
Some people like their bread pudding with the bread just barely moistened and sitting on top of a layer of custard. Some like the bread thoroughly mixed, but still light and soft. Some people, including myself, like their bread pudding dense. To make it dense, put some sort of weight on top of the pudding at this point. I have a pan that's the same size as the one I make bread pudding in - I just cover the top of the pudding in Saran Wrap and put the other pan on top with a can or something in it. Then the pudding goes in the fridge for a couple hours, until the bread has taken in all the custard.
To bake, set your oven at 300 and bake in a water bath.
I add booze-soaked dried fruit or chocolate chunks as desired. Sometimes I make a brulee topping.
Here is one from the early, pre-website days of Food TV.
New Orleans Bread Pudding
2 c whole milk
1/2 c. raisins
make a custard base of:
6 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 T rum
cinnamon and grated nutmeg to taste
1 c chopped apples
add custard to bread in a large bowl and allow to soak.
Line a large quiche pan with puff pastry dough and pierce generously, then bake per pkg instructions. Cool, then fill with pudding.
To decorate top, line the outer edge with a wide row of chopped pecans. Using 1/4 " slices of unpeeled red apples, set them on edge into the pudding to form a ring inside the row of chopped pecans. Insert pecan halves, also on edge, between the apple slices, and finish off the center area with more chopped pecans.
Bake at 360 degrees for about 50 minutes. Serve warm or cool with Rum Sauce:
1 /2 cup butter
1 c sugar
a few grains of salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 T rum or to taste
1 egg yolk
Heat butter and sugar and salt till clear, add rum, vanilla and egg yolk. Heat well, but don't boil. Serve cooled pudding with warm sauce.
Hope this pleases the puddin lovin DH. It is pretty awesome.