Bourbon and Pecan Bread Pudding
As a chef, I don't have a shortage of recipes. The thing I do have a shortage of is photos and time to recreate all of my recipes and take photos of them all. This will be one of those recipes that will have to exist without a photo until I can see if I can find one.
This recipe appeared on the blog back in 2015, I believe. But, as you might have seen in my earlier blog post, my entire website and 10+ years of blogged recipes were deleted never to be found again. And that includes the back-up of every. single. photo.
But the point of this post is Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding! And you're just going to have to trust me, and tons of reviews on Amazon, that I know what I'm doing when it comes to developing good recipes.
A high school friend of mine just posted that they were looking for a bread pudding recipe, and I have a really good one. It takes the sweet, earthy nuttiness of pecans and marries it with the oakiness of bourbon and vanilla. Combine that with the perfect canvas of day-old bread and voila! A delicious dessert. And then, if you could be so decadent, and smother that bread pudding in a delicious cream sauce....Crème Anglaise to be specific...you are in for the treat of a lifetime.
Some refer to this as a "New Orleans Style" bread pudding because it utilizes bourbon and pecans, and a french custard sauce. But whether the Crescent City gets the credit, or the accolades are shared across the Southern U.S., this recipe uses traditional southern ingredients that I grew up with and the flavor profiles take me home with every bite.
Now, we are still in the days of #QuarantineKitchen, which means we are going to the store less frequently to protect our health and others, and we are baking and cooking with what we already have in the house. So, let me tell you that this recipe is very amenable to adaptations. Omit the bourbon if you like, use champagne if you want. Use all white or all brown sugar if that's all you have. Don't have half-and-half? Just use all milk. Or remember that half-and-half is equal parts milk and cream if you have those two on hand. The richness from the cream does add body to the pudding, but it's okay if you don't have it. Don't have pecans, omit them. Don't worry- it'll be all good. And by that, I mean every bite will be good and delicious!
Here's the recipe:
Bourbon and Pecan Bread Pudding
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup of packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup of half-and-half
4 tbsp. bourbon
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
12 ounces of stale bread, cut into cubes
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 ounces (or 1/3 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
If you don't have stale bread, you can make your own “stale” bread. The night before you make the recipe, take your fresh bread and cut it into cubes. Then sit it on a baking sheet overnight so that it can dry out.
When you’re ready to bake the bread putting:
1. Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare Baking Dish: Prepare a casserole or baking dish. I use a 10×2 pan. (something smaller than a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan brownie will be best)
3. Make Custard: Mix sugars, vanilla, eggs, half-and-half, milk, and bourbon in a bowl. Add cubed bread to the custard and let sit for 15 minutes so the bread can absorb the custard. Then, pour into a casserole dish.
4. Make Pecan Streusel Topping: Mix brown sugar, butter, and pecans together and sprinkle over the top of the bread pudding.
5. Bake: Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the pudding has set and is firm in the middle. Remove from the oven. Note: when you remove from oven, the bread pudding will have puffed up. As the dish cools, the pudding will reduce in size and kind of shrinks. Essentially, it flattens.
6. Cool: Let the bread pudding cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting. This allows the custard to set.
Bourbon Crème Anglaise
4 egg yolks that are room temperature
2 cups whole milk or half and half
1/3 cup sugar
6 tbsp. of bourbon
1 tsp. vanilla extract.
1. Measure all ingredients.
2. In a double boiler over medium heat, warm the milk & half-and-half until bubbles emerge on the edges. Do not boil.
3. Beat the eggs and sugar together.
4. Add ½ of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk to “temper the eggs”. This means you are playing with the temperature of the ingredients so they combine well together.
5. Next, slowly pour the egg mixture into the double boiler and whisk.
6. Stir the mixture until thick.
7. Once the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, pour it through a sieve into a bowl to make sure there are no cooked/curdled eggs.
8. Stir in bourbon and vanilla extract.
10. You can refrigerate up to a week. Fun Fact: You can also churn this into ice cream.