Monday, February 4, 2013

Authentic New Orleans bread pudding with Bourbon sauce

A friend of mine has an annual Super Bowl party in which she asks guests to bring dishes from the cities of the playing teams or the location of the game.  I debated San Fran clam chowder or Baltimore crab cakes, but ultimately opted for New Orleans bread pudding.

I’ve never made bread pudding before so it was a fun new recipe to try.

Original Recipe:

Bourbon Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  •  1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf French bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6-7 cups)
  • 1 qt (4 cups) milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  •  2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins (soaked overnight in 1/4 cup bourbon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  •  1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Bourbon Sauce:
In a saucepan, melt butter; add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. (Do not allow to simmer, or it may curdle.) Whisk in bourbon to taste. Remove from heat. Whisk before serving. The sauce should be soft, creamy, and smooth.

Bread Pudding:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Soak the bread in milk in a large mixing bowl. Press with hands until well mixed and all the milk is absorbed. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Gently stir into the bread mixture. Gently stir the raisins into the mixture.
  3. Pour butter into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour in the bread mix and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. Can also make in individual ramekins.
  4. Serve with bourbon whiskey sauce on the side; pour on to taste. Best fresh and eaten the day it is made.

My version:
  • I decided to toast the bread.  I figured it would give it a bit more texture and help it hold up better when soaking it in milk.  I cut up the bread, melted 2 Tbsp. of butter and mixed it with the bread.   I then baked it in the oven at 380° for 10 minutes and let it cool down before I soaked it in the milk.
  • I just buttered the pan with a stick of butter, I didn’t melt 3 Tbsp. and pour it in.  I figured there was plenty of butter in the sauce and the bread that it wouldn't stick to the pan - I was right.  
  • Instead of serving the sauce on the side I just drizzled it over the top of the whole thing when it came out of the oven so that it would kind of melt into the bread. 
  • I didn't have Kentucky bourbon in my liquor cabinet and used Maker's Mark instead.  
  • Instead of using 1 cup of booze, I only used ½ cup.  Which was plenty; you could definitely taste the booze.  I was surprised how prevalent it was since I had cut the amount in half.   I highly recommend just using ½ cup.     

Cutting the bread into 1-inch pieces

Ready to toast

Butter Toasted Bread

The Sauce

Soaking the bread in milk

Ready for the oven
The bread pudding was delicious and a big hit at the party - people were eating it with their fingers as they would walk by.  It was irresistible.  One guy who said that bread pudding is his favorite dessert confirmed that "I nailed it."    
I would definitely make it again.  One thing I would do differently is cut the bread smaller, I forget how much the bread "grows" after absorbing the milk.


(2013 New Recipe #3)


  1. This looks great. Good call on the NOLA Bread Pudding. BTW - Maker's Mark IS Bourbon Whisky from Kentucky - so you were perfectly correct to use that. I totally agree on pouring the sauce on the hot pudding coming out of the oven. Like a great glaze on a rum cake or syrup on pancakes - it just soaks in.

  2. Thanks for feedback Mark, and the bourbon/whiskey info. For some reason I thought bourbon and whiskey were two different things. I drink Scotch regularly but I need to learn more about whiskey and bourbon. Cheers!