09 March 2008

American Food Part 1 continued: Bread Pudding

Posting about Helen's gumbo got me thinking about another one of her specialties...bread pudding. Now I'm sure bread pudding-type dishes can be found all over the world. It's just about the simplest baked dessert I can think of, and is made from humble, common ingredients...bread, milk, eggs, sugar. Grandma Helen claims that stale french bread from New Orleans is the key to this recipe's success, but I believe that any light, airy baguette-type bread will do just fine. You can omit the raisins if you're not a fan, but the sauce is, in my mind, essential.

Helen's Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

1 large loaf french bread (1.5 medium): a few days old and stale (or you can cheat and put it in a 200 degree oven for a while to dry it out)
1 quart milk
1 cup raisins
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Tear the bread into pieces a little larger than bite-sized. Place in a medium bowl and add milk and soak/stir until soggy. In a separate bowl mix together eggs, sugar and vanilla and then add to bread and milk mixture once it gets soggy. Add raisins. Pour into a pyrex or ceramic casserole dish and place that in another pan filled with about 1/4 inch of water. Bake until bubbling and beginning to brown on top (not sure how long this should take...10 mins?...will report back).

Meanwhile, make sauce in a double boiler or metal bowl suspended over a pot of boiling water. Melt 1 stick of butter and then whisk in 1 cup of powdered sugar. Beat one egg yolk in a small bowl and add a few spoons full of butter/sugar mixture to egg, then add to the rest of the butter/sugar in double boiler and mix until there are no lumps. Remove from heat, let cool and then add 1/4 cup of whiskey (I think Helen uses Bourbon).

Pour sauce over cooked pudding (you may not want to use all of it-to taste) and then return to oven and broil for a minute or two. Serve warm (or eat cold for breakfast straight out of the dish).


laurel said...

Hell yeah!

Emilio said...

Nisa's rockin' out!

I'm gonna learn to cook all this stuff myself!

Can't wait to see you again!