This bread pudding recipe is based on one from the famed Bon Ton Cafe in New Orleans. My friend Becca has been making this bread pudding in her family for years and made us a batch for the holidays.
The sauce is loaded with bourbon (Becca says the Bon Ton’s sauce has even more bourbon in it), so you might want to use somewhat less. My father still gets a dazed and happy look in his eyes when this bread pudding is mentioned.
Need a kid-friendly sauce without bourbon? Use 1/2 cup of water mixed with 1 Tbsp vanilla extract and 2 Tbsp of cider or white vinegar in place of the bourbon called for in the sauce recipe.
Get the raisins soaking in bourbon before you start anything with this recipe. You can even soak them a day or two ahead.
The bread you use should be a little dry. If the bread you are using is fresh, after you cube it, spread it out on a sheet pan and put it in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.
- 1 loaf French bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6-7 cups)
- 1 qt milk
- 3 eggs (large)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup raisins (soaked an hour or two in 1/4 cup bourbon)
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey (less or more to taste)
1 Preheat oven to 350°F.
2 Soak bread in milk: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place milk in a large mixing bowl and add the bread that has been cut into squares. Press the bread into the milk with your hands until all of the milk is absorbed.
3 Make egg mixture, pour over bread: In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the sugar, vanilla, allspice and cinnamon. Pour over the bread and milk mixture. Add the bourbon soaked raisins and gently stir to combine.
4 Butter baking pan, add bread mixture, bake: Pour the melted butter into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour the bread milk and egg mixture into the baking pan.
Bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until the liquid has set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. Can also make in individual ramekins.
5 Make the bourbon sauce while the bread pudding is cooking. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on low heat. Add the sugar and egg and whisk to blend well. Slowly cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, then remove from heat. Do not allow the mixture to simmer! (Or the sauce will curdle. By the way, if your sauce curdles, just take it off the heat and blend it smooth in a blender.)
Whisk in bourbon to taste. Whisk again before serving. The sauce should be soft, creamy, and smooth.
Serve the bread pudding with bourbon whiskey sauce on the side; pour on to taste. Best fresh and eaten the day it is made.