Bread Pudding is a southern staple and perfect comfort food. Add bourbon and dark chocolate and its downright dangerous. Bread pudding originates from the 11th century – as a way for frugal cooks to incorporate stale bread into a dish. While once referenced as “poor man’s pudding,” this is now a common dish in high-end restaurants and a staple for me at horse races. Try this with your next bourbon pairing or horse racing party.
2 cups milk (I use skim milk)
2 cups half-and-half
12 cups Challah bread, torn into 1-inch cubes
3 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
8 ounces of your favorite dark chocolate, chopped into chunks (Ghirardelli is our favorite!)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup of your favorite cooking bourbon
Place bread cubes in large bowl and toss with milk and half-and half until bread has soaked up the liquid. Allow the bread and milk mixture to rest for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and pour over bread and milk mixture. Fold together until mixed.
Fold in the dark chocolate chunks and mix until evenly distributed.
Pour into a greased deep 13×9-inch pan. Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes covered, and 15-20 minutes uncovered until pudding is set and firm in the middle and golden brown on top. I’ve moved my pan to the top rack or even turned the broiler on very low for a minute or two to brown and crisp up the top.
Serve with Bourbon Sauce (below).
8 ounces unsalted butter (no substitutes)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup favorite cooking bourbon
Melt butter in medium bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the sugar and bourbon and bring to a light simmer.
Crack eggs in a large bowl and whisk until blended. Add a little warm bourbon mixture and whisk. Continue to add the bourbon mixture a ¼ cup at a time until the a little at a time until the eggs have been tempered. (Note: do not add the hot mixture all at once, as you’ll cook the eggs too fast and your wonderful sauce will resemble scrambled eggs.)
Pour all liquid back into the saucepan and bring the mixture up to medium heat. Simmer lightly and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until thickened. Turn the heat down to low to keep the sauce warmed.
Serve immediately over scoops/slices of the bread pudding.
Note: If you’re watching calories, I’ve substituted Splenda or a similar sucralose sweetener for some of the sugar in the recipe, making it a bit less decadent, but without less flavor.