I have never met two bread puddings that are exactly alike and I rarely meet one that I don’t like. When I eat at a new place and bread pudding is listed on the menu, I almost always have to try it and see what version this particular kitchen has deemed acceptable.
Some version of bread pudding shows up on the menu of many southern dining establishments and dining rooms; some are dense and cake-like and others are more loose and cobbler-like. The Bright Star in Bessemer, near Birmingham, serves a tasty bread pudding with a rich bourbon sauce. The signature dessert at the Wash House in Point Clear on Mobile Bay is a Key Lime bread pudding that doesn’t sound promising but is actually quite good. It is also huge and filling and every time I’ve ordered it I have had to request a go box. Fat Girls, a tiny little barbecue joint on Highway 82 in Billingsley, Alabama, had a terrific bread pudding but it shut its doors a few years ago.
There seem to be as many versions of bread puddings in New Orleans as there are places to eat.
I don’t recall either of my grandmothers ever making a bread pudding so I have no family recipes to honor.
But recently I had some of Mrs. London’s bread from her family kitchen over in Madison sitting around and some Chilton County peaches that were getting pretty ripe and I decided that I needed to do something about it. Scoot’s organic eggs from the farmer’s market were in the refrigerator and I decided to see what it was like to make my own bread pudding.
I do pretty well in the kitchen but whenever I make something I’ve never made before I need to do some research before I get started. I pulled down the cookbooks and culled the bread pudding recipes and then set to work.
I followed the basics based on what I read and then set about making my own version. I must say that this is such an easy dessert to make that I’m not sure why I never thought to make it sooner; I guess I was just satisfied to order it at restaurants.
The final result bears repeating, I think, and I’ll share it for whenever the urge might hit. I was frankly thrown a little off-guard with how basic and simple it was to make a pretty good bread pudding. I guess since I never thought to make it, I never thought about the process.
Here’s what I did; I messed with it a bit and, even though raisins are pretty traditional for bread puddings, I wanted to do peaches in mine. This is a very giving recipe and anybody cooking a bread pudding should tweak it with whatever their tastes suggest.
Peach Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
1 cup milk
1 cup Half and Half
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
6 cups dry bread cubes
1 cup sliced peaches
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat milk, Half and Half, and butter over medium heat until butter is melted and milk is hot.
- Whisk sugar, cinnamon, salt, and eggs together.
- Stir in bread and peaches.
- Stir in milk, ½ and ½, and butter mixture.
- Pour it all into a 2-quart baking dish.
- Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
For the bourbon sauce:
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons Half and Half
4 tablespoons bourbon (non-alcoholic vanilla extract may be substituted for the bourbon)
- In heavy sauce pan, stir and heat all sauce ingredients to boiling over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer, stirring frequently.
- When ready to serve, spoon sauce over the warm bread pudding.