If I am a connoisseur of anything, bread pudding is it. If I’m out to eat and it’s on the menu, I order it. Always. I actually ruined the prospect of frozen custard after dinner for a friend recently when I said, “Stopping at Scoopy’s is fine, unless there’s bread pudding on the menu.” And there it was. It was absolutely fantastic, so I’d like to think I did him a favor. 🙂
My long-standing favorite is the Caramel Bread Pudding at Upstream Brewing Company in my hometown of Omaha, NE. It’s extremely dense, and it comes with bourbon cream sauce and whipped cream. Mmmm.
I only very recently decided to try making bread pudding myself. The one recipe I had tried before last night was the Chocolate Bread Pudding recipe from the October 2005 issue of Everyday Food. It had really great flavor, but it came out kind of wet on two separate attempts. The recipe I tried last night – Banana-Raisin Bread Pudding from the October 2007 issue of Everyday Food – didn’t have this problem. Maybe challah (or brioche) just absorbs the liquid ingredients better.
The steps were pretty simple. I whisked together some eggs, vanilla, salt, sugar, and milk in a large bowl and then added the challah, bananas, and raisins. After letting that sit for 10 minutes, it all went into a buttered 2-quart baking dish and got a sprinkle of sugar. After an hour in the oven at 350 F, I had a golden, moist (but not wet!) bread pudding.
This recipe has a semi-strong vanilla flavor (a positive in my book) and really nice density. I will definitely make it again. Bourbon cream sauce would make it even better… Maybe next time!
TIPS: The recipe says you’ll end up with 6 servings. The writers neglect to mention that those servings are about as big as a CD case. I cut this into 12 pieces, and I think that’s just about right. Also, I would recommend pushing down on your bread a bit once it’s in the baking dish but before it hits the oven. I think that contributes to good density and helps the pudding cook evenly.
Recipe link: Banana-Raisin Bread Pudding
p.s. This is a dessert-only post because we met friends for dinner last night at Fireside Pies here in Dallas. We tried two pizzas – the Peta Pie and the Balsamic Roasted Chicken Pie – and both were just amazing. I can’t wait to go back!