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Bread pudding has been a long-time favorite of mine.  I am not sure where I acquired my love for this dessert, I don’t recall my mother making it, and it was not something that either of my grandmothers prepared, but thankfully somewhere along the way I discovered it.

Recently I have been working on baking the perfect dinner roll.  While we have enjoyed fresh rolls with many meals and shared the bounty with neighbors,  I found that I still had a surplus of bread.  I used some of the left over bread to make a breakfast strada, and have fed the birds and squirrels too.  The other day as I was staring at the last of the “test” rolls, the thought of a bread pudding came to mind as a great way to convert the left-overs into something enjoyable

For some reason I think of bread pudding as primarily a holiday dessert, but really why could we not enjoy this treat anytime.  So I combined some of my favorite aspects of puddings I have enjoyed and came up with what I believe to be a real winner.  By incorporating extra vanilla, spiced rum soaked raisins, and a brown sugar and pecan crumble topping I found the perfect combination of flavors.  I topped this warm treat warm with a creme anglaise that I made using the rum that I had reserved from soaking the raisins.  Simply incredible!

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Bread Pudding with Spice Rum Raisins and Spiced Rum Creme Anglaise

Cooks note:  For best results cut up the bread and allow it to “stale” overnight uncovered.  Allow the raisins to hydrate in the rum for at least one hour, better if left overnight.  Soaking the raisins in spiced rum and using it for the creme anglaise is completely optional, however it delivers an incredible depth of flavor to this dessert.

Ingredients

  • 6   cups bread cubes, stale overnight
  • ½  cup raisins
  • ¼  spiced rum, Sailor Jerry’s or Captain Morgans
  • 2   cups milk
  • ¼  cup butter
  • 3   large eggs, beaten
  • ½  cup granulated sugar
  • 2   teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1   teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1   teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼  teaspoon salt

Crumble topping

  • ½  cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼  cup butter, softened
  • 1   cup pecans, chopped

Creme Anglaise

  • 2   cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¾  cup granulated sugar
  • 1   vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 4   egg yolks
  • Reserved rum from soaked raisins

Method

Cut bread into 1″ pieces and allow to stale overnight.

Place raisins with rum in a small bowl. Toss to coat, cover and allow to hydrate for at least one hour or overnight.

Position rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350º F.  Lightly grease a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish.

Drain the raisins and reserve the liquor for creme anglaise.

Pour milk in a large mixing bowl.  In a small bowl heat butter in microwave until liquid, do not overheat.  Add butter to milk to cool it.  Add sugar, eggs, vanilla, spices, and salt.  Mix well to combine.  Add bread cubes and toss to coat, allowing mixture to stand for about 15 minutes for bread to absorb liquid.  Stir a couple of times to make sure everything gets soaked.

While bread cubes are soaking up the milk and egg mixture, mix together the butter, brown sugar, and pecans to create a crumble.

Pour soaked bread into prepared casserole dish, spreading evenly with a spatula.  Sprinkle brown sugar and pecan mixture evenly over the dish.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until set.  Remove from oven.

To prepare the Spiced Rum Creme Anglaise:  

Separate eggs, place yolks in medium-sized bowl.

Heat cream and sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat, stirring often.  Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds.  Add pod and seeds to the cream and continue to heat until cream begins to simmer around the sides of the pan, about 145º F.

SLOWLY stream about half of the cream into the egg yolks, constantly whisking.  It is very important to add the eggs slowly to avoid making scrambled eggs.  Once the eggs are tempered add the remaining cream.  Strain the egg and cream mixture back into the sauce pan to remove pods and seeds. Heat again stirring constantly over medium heat until cream is thick and coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and whisk in reserved rum.  Refrigerate unused creme.

Serve warm or cold over bread pudding.  If you are making the creme anglaise ahead of time and wish to serve it warm, re-heat in a sauce pan over medium low heat (you will get scrambled eggs in the micro).

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