Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bourboned-up Eggnog Bread Pudding

'Tis the holiday season.

Although for some people that may mean the joy and fellowship of gift-giving and shared meals, for other people that may mean stress and insanity associated with gift-giving and shared meals. For still others, it is a mixed bag of both joy intertwined with stress, fellowship commingling with insanity.

It's no wonder so many people spike their eggnog during the month of December.

A friend of mine talked about a bourbon-spiked eggnog he made and I read something recently about an eggnog bread pudding based on this White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding from Eupicurious, and my ears perked right up. All signs seemed to indicate that I would smash the two together in some sinful way.

As luck would have it, I had just bought a quart of eggnog the other day on impulse, and just yesterday when I was rummaging through the fridge, I came across a bag of the bits and pieces of a few recently purchased, but never finished, baguettes. Leftover bread like that usually gets stuffed into a ziplock bag and stored in the freezer for future use as bread crumbs, but for some reason, these baguettes had escaped to the back of the fridge until Sunday, when I sliced off the crusts and let the baguettes fulfill their life's ambition of being mixed with chopped chocolate, drowned in egg, bourbon and cream, and then baked to golden-brown deliciousness.

I didn't stop there. I made a custardy sauce of eggnog, cream and bourbon as the final touch.

Let me tell you, it makes the stress and insanity of the season just a wee bit more bearable.

Bourboned-up Eggnog Bread Pudding

Serves 2 generously or 4 or even 6 judiciously - don't even attempt to eat the whole thing by yourself 


For the sauce:
  • ½ cup eggnog
  • splash of heavy cream - 2 or 3 tablespoons
  • generous 2 tablespoons bourbon - it may have been closer to 3 or even 4 tablespoons 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • splash of vanilla
  • touch of nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon water
For the pudding:
  • 3½ cups leftover French bread cut into 1 inch cubes, crusts cut off - stale is ok, moldy is not
  • 1½ oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped - I used Scharffenberger's 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 oz. good quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup egg nog
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/8 cup bourbon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Make the sauce by placing the eggnog, cream, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and bourbon in a saucepan and heat to a gentle boil.

  2. Make a slurry of the cornstarch and water, whisking it well until it is smooth and then add it to the eggnog-cream mixture. Keep it bubbling gently over medium to low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens, about 3 minutes. Take it off the heat, stir in the nutmeg and cool. Refrigerate until needed.

  3. For the bread pudding, I like to go beyond even day-old bread and use stale French bread. Very simply, I cut off the crusts and then cut the bread into 1 inch cubes. Toss that into a large bowl.

  4. I was feeling lazy, so I chopped the chocolates in the food processor. It made a hell of a racket, but it was great - I had chunks of chocolate as well as "chocolate dust." Add the grated/chopped/pulverized chocolate to the bread cubes.

  5. Beat together the egg, sugar and vanilla until frothy, then add the cream, eggnog, milk, nutmeg and bourbon, whisking well. Pour the liquid over the bread and chocolate and stir well. Let it soak for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure that it all soaks evenly.

  6. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Find a smallish casserole dish. I used an oven-safe 5 x 7 inch stoneware dish for this amount of bread pudding. Give it a good spray with cooking spray and dump in the soaked bread pudding mixture. Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar over the top if you like, and then bake for 30 minutes or until the edges of the bread cubes are brown and the custard is set.

  7. Take out and let cool 10 minutes, then serve warm with the eggnog sauce spooned over it.

A closer look...

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