I discovered bread pudding in college. My school’s dining halls produced it by the tub-full for dessert a few times a week, and once I’d tried it, I couldn’t resist! I mean, it’s bread (which I’ve already shared that I love) with milk, baked to creamy perfection. What a great idea!
I’d been meaning to try my hand at making it myself, and finally got the chance when we decided it would make a great Thanksgiving dessert. After doing some Googling for recipe ideas, I came upon a few Fall-flavored versions (bourbon, maple, pumpkin), ideal for our Thanksgiving feast. I decided to go with the Bourbon version, since L. Smith had some whiskey on-hand that I could incorporate into my version of bread pudding. I reviewed a few recipes to get an idea of the basic make-up for bread pudding (bread, milk, eggs, sugar, and flavorings) and then set off on my own (per usual, I didn’t follow an actual recipe and mixed and matched things I had on hand to make my version).
I used a loaf of French bread and broke it up into small pieces directly in the baking dish. To this I added enough milk to cover the bread about half way, so 3-4 cups or so. I let that sit, so the bread could soak up the milk, and in a separate bowl I cracked and beat 3 eggs, to which I added 1 cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of Bourbon whiskey, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of allspice, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. I added this mix to the bread pan and let it still for about a half hour. Most of the recipes called for it to sit a bit longer, between 2 to up to 4 hours, but we were on a time crunch to get this done before our Thanksgiving travels, so 1/2 an hour had to suffice.
I baked the bread pudding for 45 minutes at 350 *F until it was set in the center. The edges of the shredded bread were starting to brown and get crispy, which I like to an extent. In the future, I might cover the pan with foil as it gets towards the end (~35 minutes or so) so that it doesn’t get too crisp.
We definitely enjoyed this version, and I can’t wait to try out more of the Fall-flavored versions (I think pumpkin bread pudding would be delightful) next season!