Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras: Christmas Past Bread Pudding

When Mardi Gras is upon us, I usually reach for my trusty jambalaya recipe. After all, it's February and we can use some nice spicy fare to warm us up. But, this year, I decided to opt for something on the sweeter side of things.

I happened to have a loaf of homemade stollen in the freezer. It was a loaf that we didn't have time to eat around the holidays, so it sat around on the counter getting stale. Before we realized it, the bread was dry and relatively unpleasant. But, we don't like to waste food. So, we wrapped it tightly in aluminum foil and tossed it into the freezer. Yes, there was a good chance it would get lost in there and never been seen again; but, there was also a pretty good chance that I'd find a use for it later.

Looks like later came earlier than expected.

I took the bread and diced it up (frosting and all), and threw it in the biggest bowl I could find.
I was feeling like a little bit of extra effort might be nice, so I threw a few cups of milk together with a scraped vanilla bean, and let that steep for a few minutes over medium heat.
I also poured some warmed whiskey over a 1/2 cup or so of raisins -- to plump them up and make them into little boozy flavor vehicles.
I whipped up a few eggs with some sugar and put them into the bowl with the bread, stirring so that the bread was evenly coated. I tossed the raisens in as well, with the residual whisky for good measure. When the milk & vanilla was steeped, I poured that over the top of everything and let it sit to soak for a few minutes before I poured it all into a greased baking dish. At that point, it looked something like this.
I like making my bread pudding bain marie style -- so I plopped the baking dish into one of my deeper baking pans, and poured in a few cups of boiling water.
Then, I closed the door and let the pudding bake for about an hour or so until the pudding was set and the top was nice and browned.
If I'm honest, I'll admit that I look forward to bread pudding more for the bourbon sauce than for the pudding itself. But, this particular batch of pudding didn't need it; it was moist and tender, and the frosting from the stollen offered bursts of sweetness in many of the nooks and crannies. We opted instead to sprinkle the warm pudding with a bit of whiskey and call it good.
If you have time for a bit of dessert after your Fat Tuesday feasting, maybe think about whipping up a batch of bread pudding. Here's my usual recipe.

Bread Pudding


Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!


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21 comments:

  1. Now that is some feastive look bread pudding! It would go great with a big pot of gumbo! Happy Mardi Gras!!!

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  2. That looks amazing! Thank you for the recipe, I'll definitely be keeping it on file, my boy has been asking for bread pudding!

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  3. How cool is this...I love the name...and FAT TUESDAY!

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  4. Lordy that looks great!!! I'm a huge fan of all bread puddings :)

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  5. Very good use of leftover ingredients. Bread pudding rocks!

    I love Mardi Gras. We used to have a big party at my office, but we were acquired and the new parent company nixed it. I loved making gumgo and bread pudding for the occasion.

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  6. OMG LO, I never seen pudding this bread beautiful before. It sounds very festive too.
    Cheers,
    Elra

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  7. You are so resourceful, I would never have thought to make it into bread pudding! It looks wonderful!

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  8. Yum lo! That looks delicious - and what a great use of leftovers! :)

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  9. Now that's how to celebrate Fat Tuesday! Love the "boozy flavor vehicles" and boy did you kick it up a notch with that vanilla bean.

    Total yum!

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  10. YUMMERS! I adore me some bread puddin' and this looks like the mother of all of them. Wish I could jump thru the screen and try some of that!

    You know, I don't think I've ever had stollen, as far as I can remember, but I bet I'd love it - esp. as pudding.

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  11. Bread pudding rules! Maybe on day I'll get up the gumption to make it myself. Nice work!

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  12. While this treat might be hard for me to pull off with my gluten-free garfava bean bread, I always love the way you describe things. This time it was the "boozy flavor vehicles" line that got me smiling. You do have a way with words!

    Melissa

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  13. Oops, now I see I'm not the only one. Laurie loved the boozy line as well!
    :-)

    Melissa

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  14. Awesome bread pudding. It's the best dish to tweak, and the stollen's a good idea. We've got a good one that we'll share with folks this weekend!

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  15. What a clever use for stale stollen...bet it made a fantastic bread pudding. Adding whiskey soaked raisins is brilliant!

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  16. How did you know that breadpudding is my favorite dessert, so when I find it here on my first visit, I am bound to come back for more! Lovely!
    Thanks for visiting my site!

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  17. Thanks for visiting my blog! That bread pudding looks amazing :)

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  18. That looks fabulous and just so easy you whipped it up!

    We really enjoy bread pudding at my house and always have bread going stale. I need to follow you're example.
    ~ingrid

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  19. My oh my! Colorful and delicious, wonderful way to use up that extra bread. Comfort food with personality! Yum!

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  20. Wow, that is some pudding (not to mention the Bourbon Sauce!) Thanks so much for linking in to Sweet Sweet Fridays, hope to see you again soon...

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