Bourbon Bread Pudding
photo by Lynne CalamiaBread pudding is one of my favorite desserts because it delivers such a depth of flavor and a range of textures, with its custardy interior and crusty and slightly chewy outer crust. In order to develop that, you really need the bread to absorb all the dairy, so don't skimp on the soak time. As for the bourbon...no explanation required. If you don't have bourbon, just about any good whiskey (or whisky) will do. Try a spiced rum sometime. This recipe first appeared in EveryDayCook.
ACTIVE TIME: 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- 1/2 cup dried cherries, blueberries, or raisins, chopped
- 3 fluid ounces bourbon
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 12 ounces cubed bread, such as challah, French, or focaccia
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Heat oven to 350°F.
Combine the dried fruit and bourbon in a large bowl and set aside for half an hour
Coat a 1 1/2-quart round baking dish with butter and set aside. Place the bread in a large mixing bowl and have standing by.
Beat the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until the yolks lighten in color and the sugar is completely dissolved. Stop the mixer and pour the bourbon/fruit mixture through a hand strainer so that the bourbon goes into the egg mixture but the fruit is reserved. Return the mixer to "stir" and add the milk, heavy cream, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Load up your mixer's whisk attachment and beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer still running, gradually add the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Remove 2 cups of the mixture and reserve for sippingYup, you just made eggnog. as the pudding bakes.
Pour the remaining custard over the bread cubes and stir to thoroughly combine, then add the reserved fruit and leave to soak for 20 minutes. After, transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, pushing the bread down with your hands or the lid of a small saucepan, to make it fit.
Bake until the top is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.