Recipe by Lorraine of AZ
This absolutely superb dessert is at the top of my DH's favorites list. Keep this dish in mind for Mardi Gras; this dish smacks of the old New Orleans and is the perfect kick-off to the more austere Lenten season. However, it is good anytime. The recipe is from cookbook authors Diana and Paul von Welanetz who consider it one of their best recipes. Note that the recipe makes a large amount. See the note at the end if you only need 5-6 servings. Drying time for the bread is not included in the preparation time.
- 12 ounces crusty white French bread, regular not sourdough, may be stale (about 12 cups)
- 1 quart milk
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup diced pecans
- 1⁄3 cup seedless raisin
- 2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1⁄3 cup water
- 3⁄4 cup butter or 3⁄4 cup margarine, cut in 12 pieces
- 1⁄2 cup Bourbon
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Directions See How It's Made
- Cut the bread into one-inch cubes and; if the bread is fresh, let it dry at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Place the cubes in a large mixing bowl. Cover with milk and let stand about 15 minutes until milk is absorbed.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until thick and creamy. Add pecans and raisins, pour over the soaked bread cubes, and stir until mixed.
- Grease a 9 x 11 x 2-inch baking dish ( or 2 6-cup dishes. Spoon the pudding mixture into the baking dish(es) and dot the surface of the pudding evenly with butter.
- The pudding must bake in a water-bath, so place a larger shallow pan in the center of the preheated oven. Set the dishes dishes in it and pour boiling water into the outer pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake for 55-65 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the pudding comes out clean. Let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving.
- To make the Bourbon Sauce: Combine the sugar with the water in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil without stirring. Insert a candy thermometer and let simmer until the mixture reaches 238 depgrees, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the thermometer.
- Lower the heat and add the pieces of butter all at once. Stir rapidly with a wire whisk until the butter has been absorbed and the mixture is creamy. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Blend the bourbon and cornstarch together until well combined and stir into the sauce. Beat with a whisk until smooth. Return the sauce to the heat and whisk for a minute or two, just until it reaches a hard boil and bubbles up in the pan. If the sauce remains hot for too long a time or is overcooked, it will eventually become grainy from the evaporation of the liquid. To remedy this, simply add a tablespoon or two of water and reheat, whisking constantly to a hard boil. Remove from the heat. Serve over the warm bread pudding.
- Note: The one large pudding will make 10-12 servings. If your group is small, make the pudding in the two 6-cup dishes. Serve the one and store the other in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 4 months. To serve, bring to room temperature,l then heat at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes until it is warm through. The sauce may be made in advance and stored in the refrigertor for up to a month. To serve, bring it to a boil in a small heavy saucean over medium heat, whisking constantly. If the sauce sugars, remedy it as above.