Bread Pudding with Irish Whiskey Sauce

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Mar 16, 2011 6:09 PM
This month, in honour of St. Patrick, we've put an Irish spin on a traditional comfort food... Bread Pudding with Irish Whiskey Sauce. We have to confess to enjoying this dessert for breakfast on occasion. Perfect on a cool morning and a wee tipple first thing gets you revved up for the day! Tee hee. (Actually the alcohol is burned off during the cooking, but the flavour of the whiskey first thing in the morning is a decadent treat!)

We use multigrain bread, so we feel a little more virtuous about enjoying this dish anytime; but in fact, the nutty flavour and firmer texture of the multigrain works exceptionally well and we now prefer it to using white bread. You can use a mixture of any bread you have left over, including baguette or other specialty loaves - even cinnamon raisin bread. Unless the crusts are very thick or the bread is very dry, you don't need to remove the crusts.

You also have several options with baking dishes: individual ramekins, muffin cups or a larger baking or casserole dish. You can prepare the bread pudding in advance of a party, as it rewarms beautifully in the microwave or stove oven. But while the pudding freezes very well, the sauce does not. So make the sauce just before serving.

Bread Pudding with Irish Whiskey Sauce
(serves 8)

1/4 cup butter, melted
4 cups cubed stale bread - about 1/2-inch dice
3/4 cup raisins (golden raisins are nice)
2 cups milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar (you can use a little less)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in microwave (about a minute depending on the power of your microwave). Toss bread in butter to coat all the cubes. If making individual bread puddings, divide bread amongst eight ramekins or muffin cups; scatter raisins evenly over top. Otherwise, place bread in a medium-sized casserole or baking dish and scatter raisins evenly.

Using the same bowl (why wash more dishes?), make the custard by whisking together remaining ingredients until sugar is dissolved and eggs are well broken up. Pour liquid over bread and raisins (distribute evenly for individual servings). Let sit 5 min., then toss to be sure all bread gets soaked with the custard.

Bake 20 min. until puffed and golden brown. Check for doneness by inserting the tip of a paring knife in the middle. It should come out fairly clean (a little wet is okay).

Irish Whiskey Sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
Pinch salt
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup (2 oz) Irish whiskey (you may substitute another spirit, or replace with milk)
Dash vanilla

You can make this in the microwave or on the stovetop. Microwave: In a microwave-safe vessel with plenty of head space (to allow for boiling), whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add butter and corn syrup. Microwave 40-60 seconds until melted. Whisk until smooth. Add milk and whiskey and return to microwave. Cook for 1 min. intervals, whisking in between until sauce is thickened to the consistency of gravy or custard (may take 3-5 min. total depending on the power of your microwave). Whisk in vanilla. Serve over warm puddings. Stovetop: Mix dry ingredients together same as above. Add remaining ingredients except vanilla and cook, whisking over medium heat until smooth and thickened. Stir in vanilla and serve.