The last time I made a bread pudding, it was a bit of a disaster. It stuck in the pan and when I tried to invert it, the pudding came out in pieces. This time I checked online and found a recipe I liked enough to try, on Simply Recipes.
I had a large loaf of challah I wasn't crazy about, but I was determined to use it up. I usually shop for groceries at the same place where I'm able to purchase 1/2 a loaf of an amazing challah which is moist and tender and still tastes great a few days later (no preservatives!). This week I ended up with an entire loaf of a dry, though not stale challah made at a different bakery. I was surprised because this particular bakery turns out some of the best European style loaves of bread in the city.
I made a few adjustments to the recipe. I decreased the amount of sugar substantially; from 2 cups to half a cup. The bread pudding was plenty sweet, especially with the bourbon sauce which also contained sugar. I swapped out half the bourbon with fresh orange juice because I wanted a less boozy version; the bourbon was still quite pronounced.
The orange I used was so fragrant, I decided to use it's zest as well. The citrusy flavour complimented the bourbon quite well. I used currants, because that's all I had. Oh, and before I forget, I used 25% less milk (the challah might have been less dense than the french bread called for in the original recipe); the resulting bread pudding was very moist and custardy.
adapted from Simply Recipes
day old challah, cut into 1 inch squares (about 7 cups)
3 cups milk
zest from an orange, about 1 generous tablespoon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cardamom
pinch or two of nutmeg
1/2 cup currants (soaked overnight in 1/3 cup bourbon)
2 tbsp butter, melted
Pour the milk over the bread cubes and set aside.
In another bowl whisk together the orange zest, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cardamom and nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Coat the bottom and sides of a 9 inch cake pan with the melted butter. Set aside.
Pour the egg and sugar mixture over the bread and milk. Add the currants, reserving the bourbon for the sauce. Combine everything until it's evenly mixed.
Pat the bread mixture evenly into the prepared cake pan (adding all of the liquid, if the mixture is especially wet) and bake for about 35-45 minutes or until the edges brown and pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven.
1/4 cup butter, melted (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 small egg
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup bourbon (top up the reserved bourbon from the currants)
In a small saucepan, melt the butter, then whisk in the sugar and egg. Cook over low heat, whisking the mixture constantly until it thickens. Whisk in the orange juice and bourbon and heat the mixture until bubbles begin forming. Do not bring to a boil as it might curdle. Remove from heat.
Spoon the bourbon sauce over the warm bread pudding and serve.