CREOLE STYLE BREAD PUDDING WITH WHISKEY SAUCE
New Orleans Seafood Cookbook
by Ralph Brennan
For Generations of Creole home cooks, bread sone stale has been a fine excuse to make a warm and custardy bread puddins. The city's traditional French bread is the usual ingredient, since it is ideally light and readily soaks up the liquid ingredients, in addition to having a very thin crust, which means the crust need not be removed before it goes into the custard mix.
For 10 to 12 servings
• If New Orleans-style French bread is not available, you can get similar results using a sugarless, natural-yeast white bread with a low gluten content and a thin crust.
• The pudding can also be made with brioche, challah, day-old croissants or other egg bread, as long as the crust is very thin.
• This recipe is prepared in two steps, requiring refrigerating the pudding for six or more hours before it is baked.
• Prepare the recipe for WHISKEY SAUCE
• 10 large eggs
• 2 3/4 cups whole milk
• 2 3/4 cups heavy cream
• 1 cup sugar, divided
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
• 1 piece day-old New Orleans-style French bread, about 23 inches long and weighing about 7 1/2 to 8 ounces
• 3/4 cup dark raisins
• 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small bits
• 1 recipe WHISKEY SAUCE
1. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a metal whisk or an electric mixer. Add the milk, cream, 3/4 cup of sugar, 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and the nutmeg.
2. Continue beating until the custard mixture is smooth and the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
3. Cut the bread loaf crosswise into 1-inch slices.
4. Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with the slices, cut sides up, squee2ing the slices in as necessary to form a single layer.
5. Pour the custard mixture over the bread and turn the slices over to assure they are saturated. Scatter the raisins evenly over the bread, pushing them into the bread with your fingertips.
6. Cover and refrigerate for six to eight hours, preferably overnight.
7. Three to four hours before serving time remove the pudding from the refrigerator and allow it to reach cool room temperature, about one and a half hours.
8. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, blending them well. Evenly dot the top of the pudding with the bits of butter and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top.
9. Once the pudding has almost reached cool room temperature, preheat the oven to 325°F.
10. Place the pudding dish in a larger pan and carefully pour enough boiling-hot water into the outer pan to come halfway up the sides of the pudding dish. Cover both the baking dish and the outer pan with a single sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and seal the edges.
11. Bake the pudding until it is almost firm in the center, about one hour, then remove the foil and continue baking until the pudding is firm in the center and nicely browned, about 45 minutes more.
12. Remove the pudding and its water bath from the oven. Take the pudding dish out of the larger pan of water and let the pudding sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.
Serving Suggestion: Serve on heated dessert plates with some of the whiskey sauce spooned on each serving. Refrigerate any leftover pudding and