Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Derby Day Bread Pudding
The first Saturday of May is a big deal in Kentucky. A big deal. It's the day our little state receives national attention with the running of the Kentucky Derby. Two minutes of heart stopping horse racing amid other Southern traditions like big hats and bourbon.
Derby Day Pie is a pie featuring chocolate chips and chopped nuts and is a Derby Day tradition. Incorporating this flavor profile into one of my favorite desserts, bread pudding, seemed like a great idea. And a great idea it was.
Bread pudding is such a simple, rustic dessert. This version isn't as dense or soggy as some versions and therefore may be more palatable to people that don't think they like bread pudding. The buttery challah is held together with a flavorful custard and chocolate chips and pecans add additional flavor and crunch. I pretty much have to have some type of sauce with my bread puddings and a caramel sauce was the perfect choice to replicate the caramel flavors in the original pie.
I loved this bread pudding and can't believe I didn't think of it sooner. The perfect snack while watching the most exciting two minutes of sports!
Derby Day Bread Pudding
3-4 cups stale bread, cubed - I use Challah but any dense white bread will do.
2 cups heavy cream
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans
For the Caramel Sauce
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 9 X 13" baking dish.
Place bread cubes in baking dish. If your bread isn't stale, just place it on a baking sheet (or if you are lazy like me, place in the baking dish) and toast for about 10 minutes.
Combine cream, eggs, vanilla, bourbon, sugar, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl. Whisk until combined. Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans over bread cubes. Pour liquid mixture over and press bread down with a spatula until the bread has absorbed the liquid.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until custard has set and top is lightly browned. Set aside while you make the caramel sauce.
Place sugar and water in small, heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until sugar dissolves. Do not stir, swirl the pan! Turn heat up to medium and continue to cook until mixture turns amber or a light caramel color. Don't go to far and do not stir mixture. This part of the process will take about 5 - 7 minutes. Be extremely careful as the sugar is HOT. Turn off the heat and stand back as you add the cream and vanilla. Again, be careful as the cream will splatter and spurt. The caramel will seize up and solidify.
Simmer over low heat until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes.
Serve warm bread pudding with caramel sauce.