New Orleans Bourbon Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Desserts, Southern, Winter / Friday, February 5th, 2010

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.

But when life hands you a 2-day-old baguette, a freshly opened bottle of Maker’s Mark and five delicious snowbound days, you make Bourbon Bread Pudding. With a warm, buttery bourbon sauce. And bourbon-soaked raisins.

It’s the sort of dessert you want to curl up around and savor while you watch the snow fall. Or read a book. Or watch “The Matrix” trilogy from start to finish in its entirety.

Traditionally, cooks made bread pudding to use up stale bread, but if you don’t have a geriatric baguette handy, you can tear the bread and toast it in the oven. You want the bread to be dry so that it can fully soak in the custard, a magical concoction made up of common ingredients – egg yolks, brown sugar, heavy cream, whole milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and bourbon.

Once the pudding is baked, with a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar and yes-yes sweet butter on top, it’s like a hug in a bowl. Soft and warm and wonderfully familiar. But add the bourbon sauce, and it’s more like a grope.

So, what are you waiting for? Add the bourbon sauce.

New Orleans Bourbon Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Adapted from “Cook’s Country”

Serves 8 to 10

  • 1 (18- to 20-inch) French baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces (10 cups)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup bourbon, divided
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled, plus extra for dish
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Bourbon Sauce (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Butter 13 by 9-inch baking dish, and set aside.
  2. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp and brown, about 12 minutes, turning pieces over halfway through and rotating the baking sheet front to back. Let bread cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  3. Meanwhile, heat raisins and 1/2 cup bourbon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until bourbon begins to simmer, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the mixture, placing the bourbon and raisins in separate bowls.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk yolks, brown sugar, cream, milk, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Whisk in remaining 1/4 cup bourbon plus the bourbon used to plump the raisins. Toss in the toasted bread until evenly coated. Let mixture sit until bread begins to absorb custard, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. If the majority of the bread is still hard when squeezed, soak for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Pour half the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with half the raisins. Repeat with the remaining bread mixture and raisins. Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, mix granulated sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingers, pinch 6 tablespoons butter into sugar mixture until the crumbs are the size of small peas. Remove foil from pudding, sprinkle with butter mixture, and bake, uncovered, until custard is just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F and bake until top of pudding forms golden crust, about 2 minutes.
  7. Let the pudding cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours). Serve alone or with Bourbon Sauce.

Bourbon Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup bourbon, divided
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  1. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and 2 tablespoons bourbon until well combined.
  2. Using a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in cornstarch mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Take the pan off the heat, and stir in salt, butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons bourbon.
  4. Drizzle warm sauce over bread pudding. Or ice cream. Or directly into your mouth.

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34 thoughts on “New Orleans Bourbon Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

  1. You had me bourbon. Mmm. bread pudding. I'm not usually a fan of raisins in my bread pudding but might make an exception since these are boozy raisins.

  2. They just had bourbon bread pudding at the Port Royal Club in Naples last night! It was delicious :) I'm sure that your recipe turned out delicious as well!!!

  3. I'm not a big bread pudding fan (odd since I adore bread and other kinds of pudding) but I will definitely be making this sauce!

  4. Holy schmoly, bready-raisiny-glazey goodness, all rolled into one and infused with bourbon?

    Sigh. That picture makes me want to crawl through the screen and eat it up!

  5. I went and made this tonight. Damn you! Damn you for making me eat such a delicious dessert! *shakes fist* This came out fan-freakin'-tastitc.

  6. I went and made this tonight. Damn you! Damn you for making me eat such a delicious dessert! *shakes fist* This came out fan-freakin'-tastitc.

  7. I went to a birthday party at a country club in North Carolina this past weekend and they served this very thing. It was soooo heavenly. How serendipitous that I would find the recipe on your blog. I am definitely going to make this! Thanks.

  8. Making this on Saturday…I only order bread pudding when I'm in New Orleans..been REALLY craving it.. I started looking for some good recipies and this one looks lke the best! Can't wait!

  9. Made this recepie several months ago…. It was awesome, everyone said it was a keeper.
    It's on menu for Christmas Eve dinner.

    Thanks for sharing,

  10. I just made this dish…Ooooooh boy, it's a hit. I am not even a baker, and your step-by-step recipe made me top chef desserts of the day.

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