Do you know those games you play at wedding showers? Specifically the one "How Well Do You Know the Bride & Groom"? We played that at my wedding shower and it was divided into three parts: one set of questions about us together, a set about me and a set about Rick. One of the questions was "What is Rick's favorite dessert?"
Bread Pudding of course! Bread Pudding is all about the bread. What type of bread you use and how well you toast it before you use it. Most recipes you come across are going to tell you to use dry regular bread or French Bread. Wrong!
You want to use the good stuff. Chocolate Babke, which is what I used this time is an especially good choice. Threads of chocolate run all through this bread making the bread pudding just a little bit more decadent. Cinnamon Rolls are also a fabulous choice and so is Banana Bread. Sensing a common theme? You don't want no stinkin' plain bread!!!
Oh yeah, there's one other thing that is crucial to bread pudding. Whiskey Sauce. Bread Pudding lavishly swimming in bubbling hot rivers of Bourbon Whiskey Sauce makes me nearly swoon. (Okay, well maybe that's all the sampling I did of the Whiskey Sauce while I was making it but don't tell anyone else that.)
5 cups of cubed bread--(for example: Chocolate Babke, Cinnamon Rolls, Banana Bread)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups of whole milk
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. On a cookie sheet, spread out the cubed bread and bake for about 10 minutes. Stir the bread cubes and allow to bake 10-15 minutes or more as needed to get evenly toasted bread cubes. Set aside to cool.*
2. Turn the oven up to 350 and lightly grease a 2 quart baking dish. Beat the sugar, vanilla, eggs and milk together. (This is the step where if you were using plain bread you would add cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, etc for a total of 1 teaspoon but since the bread we are using is so good it's not needed.)
3. Arrange bread cubes in dish and pour egg mixture over top. Some pieces will stick out; don't worry about poking them down. Some people like the extra toasty bread bits sticking out of the top. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. If you use a deep 2 quart dish instead of a more shallow one you may need to add an extra 10-15 minutes.
4. Let cool slightly while making Whiskey Sauce. Pour Whiskey Sauce all over the top and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers--it tastes great warmed up the next day!
Bourbon Whiskey Sauce
1/4 cup butter
1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons of water in a small separate bowl
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 tablespoons of Bourbon Whiskey
1. In a saucepan, melt the butter. While whisking continuously, carefully pour half of the hot butter in the yolk mixture. If you pour too fast or stop whisking you'll have scrambled eggs so be careful! Once half of the butter has been incorporated, put the saucepan back on the stove. While whisking continuously, pour the butter-yolk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining butter.
2. Stir in the sugar. Over medium-low heat, bring to a boil. Boil for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent it from burning.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in the whiskey and pour over bread pudding.