Recipe by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day
Cookbook review by Tracey Zabar
Starting the bread pudding with an eggy challah or brioche makes a rich treat for anyone who loves nursery desserts. Ending with a sweetened bourbon sauce makes this a very grown-up dessert. I drizzle the sauce on half the pudding, so my family can choose. It’s simple and sweet, and there probably won’t be any leftovers for breakfast.
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Bourbon Bread Pudding
For many Southern folks, a spirit-infused bread pudding is an anticipated addition to any Sunday brunch. We use our day-old ciabatta, but you can use French baguettes, brioche, or challah instead.
For the Pudding
1½ pounds ciabatta, brioche, or challah, cut into 2-inch cubes (9 cups)
4 cups half-and-half
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup golden raisins
For the Bourbon Glaze
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ cup heavy cream
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
To make the pudding: Put the bread in a large mixing bowl and pour the half-and-half over it, tossing it gently to soak the bread. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the custard.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla, and stir until well combined and smooth.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the butter-sugar mixture, stirring until well combined and smooth. Pour the custard mixture over the bread, tossing gently to incorporate the custard and half-and-half mixture until well combined.
Pour the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the raisins over the top and gently work them into the pudding; make sure the liquid covers the bread. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 55 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the bread pudding is golden brown. Set the pudding aside while you prepare the glaze.
To make the bourbon glaze: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the bourbon and confectioners’ sugar, stirring until incorporated. Add the cream and mix until smooth.
Pour the glaze over the top of the bread pudding and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.
The bread pudding is best served warm, but it can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.
Excerpted from The Artisanal Kitchen: Baking for Breakfast by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Squire Fox and Angie Mosier