When we go to New Orleans, it is of primary importance to try the bread pudding at every eatery we find. First rule, there are no bad bread puddings. Second, even if the serving is huge, each of us is responsible for consuming her/his own.
Sometimes bread pudding is heavy and dull. Still better than no bread pudding, of course, but not noteworthy. Especially if the cook has skimped on the raisins. We ate most of our meals in the French Quarter this trip, so we had fewer heavy, dull bread puddings than a cross section of Southern kitchens might afford. Still, not every French Quarter chef is up to the challenge.
The best bread puddings have a lovely whisky sauce poured over them. Even a so-so pudding is highly appreciated if the sauce is good. Last week, we found the best bread pudding and sauce at the Palm Court on Decatur St. My red fish dinner was not all that good, but a jazz band entertained us. And the bread pudding: moist, sweet, well-raisined, and amply sauced. ‘Course I can’t give you the Palm Court’s recipe, but I can give you my husband’s. He tinkers with it every time he makes it, but I have to tell you, his sauce can make you weep.
Steve’s Bread Pudding
Start with a loaf of French bread like the one I bought at WalMart.
A quart of milk. If you’re watching the fat, you can use skim. If you’re not, you can use Half and Half)
2 c sugar
2 tbl vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 c raisins (don’t skimp on the raisins or She will complain)
3 Tbl melted butter, or margarine
Optional: ½ cup pecans and ½ cup coconut; You can add other fruits, etc. But what you have above is the basic New Orleans’ style pudding.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak bread chunks in milk. Use your hands so that all those chunks soak it up. Add eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and raisins. Stir it all up. Pour melted butter in bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Spread the mixture in the pan and bake about 40 minutes until firm.
The Whiskey Sauce
1 c. sugar
1 stick butter
1 beaten egg
2 oz. Southern Comfort (or bourbon or rum . . . )
Cream the sugar and the butter. Cook in a double boiler until dissolved. Add beaten egg slowly, beating the mixture quickly so egg won’t curdle. When mixture is cooler, add the Southern Comfort. Pour over the bread pudding and serve. You will make your guests very happy.