Recipe of the Week: Bread Pudding
There is an on-going argument in New Orleans over adding raisins to bread pudding. This is exactly the delicious kind of quarrel New Orleanians love to engage in so that they have a suitable excuse to prepare and taste different versions. While there are as many recipes for bread pudding as there are restaurants in New Orleans, this one is a particularly splendid example, a rich custard-laced square brought to the table draped in warm, buttery whiskey sauce. Arnaud’s recipe uses raisins; if preferred they can be left out.
2 large egg yolks
5 whole large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
2-1/2 cups whole milk, scalded
½ cup heavy cream, scalded
3 ½ cups stale French bread crumbs
6 to 8 slices French bread, 1-inch thick
½ cup raisins
¼ cup dark rum
4 tablespoons clarified butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, mixed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart casserole. In a small bowl, pour the rum over the raisins and set aside to plump. In the bowl of an eclectic mixer set at low speed, mix together yolks, eggs and sugar. Add the milk and cream and mix well. Mix the vanilla.
Combine the bread chunks, 2 tablespoons of the butter, cinnamon and rum-raisins in a large mixing bowl. Pour a generous amount of the pudding mixture over the bread. Stir to mix all ingredients and pour into the buttered casserole. Smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
Dip the bread slices in the remaining pudding mixture and place over the pudding, overlapping to cover the edges of the dish. Pour any remaining pudding over all. Drizzle with the remaining clarified butter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.
Cut parchment paper to fit the top of the dish, butter lightly and place over the surface of the pudding. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and set the casserole dish inside a pan fill with hot water to within ½ inch of the top of the baking dish. Bake for approximately 50 minutes, remove the foil and bake 10 minutes longer.
Yield: About 2 Cups
Whiskey Sauce will keep at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. For those who are not fans of bourbon, rum or cognac makes a fine substitute. If desired, the alcohol may be eliminated entirely and a small amount of flavoring such as almond extract substituted.
3 large eggs
1 cup (8 Ounces, 2 sticks) butter, melted and still warm
½ cup granulated sugar 1-1/2 teaspoons bourbon
Using a mixer, whip the eggs at high speed until they are thick and pale. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the warm butter. Gradually add the sugar and mix until cool, and then slowly add the whiskey, blending it in thoroughly.