Bread Pudding. What a delicious mess.

Two weeks ago, I was in the Dominican Republic on vacation. Apart from the fact that sitting on a beach in February felt like real luxury, the food in the hotel was great. Made-to-order omelets for breakfast, wide range of salads, vegetables, meats and fish for lunch, à la carte for dinner. The dessert buffet was always a sight, so many cakes, flans, and creams that made it impossible to decide. And there was always bread pudding to find, though it looked more like sweet Semmelknödel than bread pudding to me.

Back home, I tried to make it myself, it is really easy and the results were delicious. I personally prefer this version, where you still can see the bread cubes in the finished dish. The whiskey cream sauce makes it really perfect, much better than versions with fruit or raisins…

makes 4 dessert portions, adapted from Pioneer Woman

2 cups sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or citrus sugar
1 cup / 250 ml milk
1 cup / 225 g sugar
3 tablespoons pecans or walnuts, chopped finely

1/4 cup / 50 g sugar
1/2 stick / 50 g butter
1/4 cup / 60 ml cream
1/8 cup / 30 ml whiskey (bourbon or a mild Scotch)

First of all, preheat oven to 325°F / 160°C. Cut the bread into rather large cubes and pack them tightly into a round baking dish (or several small ones, I also used 3-inch / 10 cm square ones).

Melt the butter (just use a measuring cup on your stove), then mix together with eggs, vanilla, sugar and milk. This will seem an awful lot of sugar, but trust me – it’s just right. Though you may want to reduce the sugar if you’re using white bread, not sourdough…

By the way, you can make your own vanilla (or citrus) sugar – just take an old jam jar, fill in sugar and put in used and dried vanilla pods (or citrus peels).

Pour the milk/egg-mixture over the bread cubes, making sure that every bit is soaked. You could also use the back of a spoon or a small spatula to press the cubes gently down, so that they are submerged.

Sprinkle over the chopped nuts and bake for about 1 hour, but don’t let it get too brown.

While the bread pudding is baking, make the sauce. Just combine all ingredients in a saucepan, stir and bring it to a boil over low heat. Incredibly simple, but very tasty.

Serve the bread pudding either hot or (on the next day) straight out of the fridge. Pour over some sauce and sigh.

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