|A rich, meringue topped, New Orleans style Creole bread pudding souffle, drizzled with whiskey sauce and perfect for any special occasion, holiday or event.|
Old Fashioned New Orleans Creole Bread PuddingWhen most of us think of bread pudding, we think of a simple country dessert, born out of leftover bread that is tossed together with a belly warming custard. It really is like a hug y'all!
I bet you don't often think of a rich, meringue topped version though. Oh my goodness is this bread pudding just over the top. It is rich, nothing low calorie here, and it's a large batch recipe too, so holidays are the perfect time to share this delectable treat. While my post is a little late for Christmas this year, it's a recipe you might want to consider sharing for your New Year's brunch or an upcoming special social event. I think it'll be one that you certainly want to bookmark and remember for the next holiday.
In truth, this is actually a very old and nearly forgotten method for bread pudding here in the Deep South, and although you don't see it much anymore, it is still a signature dessert at Commander's Palace restaurant in New Orleans, where it is served in individually portioned souffle dishes. It is a wonderfully rich and decadent dessert that I adore and will make a perfect au revoir to those very sweets you might be giving up for New Year's, on the heels of these just past indulgent holidays.
Since we're making a meringue to cover a large surface, I'm adding in the cornstarch method to my meringue this time which should help to avoid weeping. Be sure though that you put the freshly made meringue on the very hot, right from the oven bread pudding and that will help. If you're assembling or making this in advance, wait to do the meringue until you're ready to serve it. For best results, you'll want to bring the dish to room temperature, then bake the bread pudding and apply the meringue fresh, rather than prepare the full recipe and refrigerate. To reheat leftovers, use the low setting on your microwave first to warm through, then you'll only need a few seconds on high.
I hope that you enjoy this classic heirloom dessert and consider bringing it to your next church supper or potluck. I have a feeling you'll be the talk of the town! Here's how to make it.
Recipe: Old Fashioned New Orleans Creole Bread Pudding©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 40 min |Cook time: 1 hour | Yield: About 10 to 15 servings
- 1 (1 pound) loaf of stale French bread, sliced and cubed (about 9 to 10 cups)
- 6 cups of milk, divided
- 6 large eggs, divided
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups of granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup of black or golden raisins, optional
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water, divided
- 6 reserved egg whites
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- Whiskey Sauce, optional
Slice the bread into 1 inch slices then cube into 4 to 6 cubes depending on how big a loaf it is. Place half of the bread in a large glass bowl and pour 4 cups of milk on top, press bread down into the milk. Add remaining bread and milk and mash down, adding additional milk if needed to cover. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the cornstarch mixture for the meringue by mixing together 2 tablespoons of the water with the cornstarch; set aside. In a small saucepan, bring the remaining 1/2 cup of water to a boil and using a wire whisk, beat in the cornstarch mixture and cook, until thickened and clear. Set aside to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish; set aside. Separate eggs, cover and refrigerate the egg whites. In a separate medium size bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and eggs together; stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Stir the butter and sugar mixture into the bread mixture and mix well; turn out into the prepared pan. Scatter the raisins on top, if using. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Uncover, return to oven and bake an additional 30 minutes. The last 10 minutes of cooking time, prepare meringue.
Using a whisk beater, add the egg whites to a clean mixer bowl and beat until foamy. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form, begin adding the sugar a little at a time, then the cooled cornstarch mixture. Continue beating until mixture stiffens.
Remove bread pudding from the oven and immediately add the meringue to the hot bread pudding, spreading completely out to the edges of the baking dish, and swirling to create peaks; return to the oven to lightly brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, watching carefully. Let rest for 10 minutes. To serve, scoop out or cut squares of the warm bread pudding onto individual plates and drizzle with whiskey sauce, if desired.
Cook's Notes: French bread works best for bread pudding, and though you may substitute other breads, the results will differ. Depending on how dry your French bread is, you may need to add more milk. You want the milk to just cover the bread before soaking.
Tip: For a full explanation of how to make meringue, visit my step by step tutorial. If you're assembling or making this in advance, wait to do the meringue until you're ready to serve it. For best results, you'll want to bring the dish to room temperature, then bake the bread pudding and apply the meringue fresh at the end, rather than prepare the full recipe and refrigerate. To reheat leftovers, use the low setting on your microwave first to warm through, then you'll only need a few seconds on high.
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