Last week was, for me, a most crap-tacular exercise in futility. Redoing our apartment is still underway, so things are a mess, and then to add insult to injury, both myself and Matt were hit by the cold virus that’s going around. So blogging and other work slogged along at a snail’s pace, with some of it just plain not getting done at all. But, barring some act of God catastrophe, next week will see a return to my themed weeks! With ASPARAGUS. Yummy and perfect for the spring season we are ushering in.
Since I blogged a savory bread pudding yesterday, I figured why not have a sweet bread pudding today? I had planned to post this last Wednesday, on March 12, 2014. Why? Because that day is the anniversary of when Matt and I met on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, 11 years ago. And every year for this anniversary I try to make something Cajun, Creole, or otherwise New Orleans-themed. But on March 12th last week I was laid up in bed with fever, sore throat, runny nose and cranky as all hell. So I’m posting this today instead.
This bread pudding is insane, just like all the bread puddings I’ve had while visiting NOLA, and best of all, it is boozy! Bread pudding is a very popular dessert in New Orleans, and it is always accompanied by a luscious bourbon sauce, which will be creamy yet almost abrasively spiked with alcohol. It’s awesome. I was extremely happy to recreate that experience at home. Enjoy this one, y’all!
Source: slightly adapted from Real Cajun by Donald Link
1 stale French baguette, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 oz. white chocolate chips
4 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
Pinch of kosher salt
2 to 4 tbs bourbon
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish. Spread the bread cubes evenly in the dish, then sprinkle the white and dark chocolate evenly over the bread.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add the melted butter and whisk again to combine. Pour this mixture over the bread, making sure all of it gets wet. Press the bread down with a spatula several times to ensure it starts to soak up the egg mixture.
Bake, uncovered, for about 30-35 minutes, until the pudding is set. Allow to cool slightly, then serve drizzled liberally with the bourbon sauce.
Make the Bourbon Sauce while the pudding is baking. Heat the sugar and butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
Place the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl and slowly pour the warm butter mixture into the bowl, whisking constantly. Finish the sauce with the bourbon, using your preferences for how strong you want the sauce to be (I used 4 tbs for a sauce with a *very* nice bite to it). Let the sauce sit for a minute or so, whisking occasionally. You will see it start to thicken and come together. If you don’t use the sauce immediately, cover it and keep it warm as you don’t want it to break.