Wednesday, September 14, 2011

sunday sweets {nola bourbon bread pudding}

On Saturday I went to the Farmer's Market and decided to buy a pound of okra without any kind of plan of what to cook. I knew I wanted to make something that was warm and cozy the next day for football. I also knew I wanted something that would require extensive cooking, I wanted to be busy all day. So after consulting Jacob and our many cookbooks, I decided on gumbo. I then took the theme and ran with it, making a bourbon bread pudding for dessert {as if the gumbo wasn't heavy enough, don't judge me}.

I had never made bread pudding before and always wondered why people complained about it being hard. I now understand why people don't make it more often. It's tedious. It's time consuming. It's just plain annoying. Luckily, it's also delicious. With the exception of a hair cut mid-day, I spent the entire day cooking, football blaring in the background, with a {very large} bloody mary in hand. 

This came out great, different from other ones I've had. There's a lot of bourbon in the pudding and in the glaze, giving it a nice caramel {and alcohol} flavor. I suggest trying it, but only if you have a significant amount of time to devote to cooking... and bloody marys...lots of bloody marys. 

For the pudding:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled, plus more for greasing the pan
1 French baguette, torn into 1-in layer pieces {I cut mine into slices}
1 cup golden raisins 
3/4 cup bourbon
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup whole milk
8 large egg yolks 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the glaze:
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces
pinch salt 

1. Adjust oven rack to the middle and heat oven to 450. Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until golden and crisp, about 12 minutes, flipping the bread and rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking, let the bread cool. Reduce the oven temp to 300.
2. Meanwhile, heat the raisins with a 1/2 cup of the bourbon in a small saucepan over medium high heat until the bourbon begins to simmer, 2-3 minutes. Strain the mixture over a bowl, reserving the bourbon and raisins separately.
3. Whisk the cream, brown sugar, milk, egg yolks, vanilla, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup bourbon and the bourbon used to plump the raisins. Toss in the toasted bread until evenly coated. Let the mixture sit until the bread begins to absorb the custard, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. 
4. Pour half of the bread mixture into the prepared baking pan and sprinkle with half of the reserved raisins. Pour the remaining half of the bread mixture into the pan and sprinkle with the remaining half of the raisins. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. 
5. Meanwhile, mix the sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingers, cut the 6 tablespoons of butter into the sugar mixture until the mixture is the size of small peas. Remove the foil from the pudding, sprinkle with the butter mixture and bake the pudding, uncovered unto the custard is just set, 20-25 minutes. Increase the temp to 450 and bake until the top of the pudding forms a golden crust, about 3 minutes. Remove and let cool for at least 30 minutes. 
1.Whisk the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of the bourbon together in a small bowl. Heat the cream and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauce thickens, 3-5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons bourbon, butter, and salt. Drizzle the warm sauce over the bread pudding before serving. 


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