122. Bread Pudding, the Kind You Eat With a Spoon

26 Feb

Two Sister's Prize-winning Bread Pudding

Two Sister’s Kitchen Prize-winning Bread Pudding

On my last trip to MS, I enjoyed something I hadn’t had since forever (or a few days shy of it anyhow): bread pudding. Ok, I should qualify this by saying that have tasted quite a few menu items called bread pudding, but here in the Pacific Northwest, emphasis is on the bread, while pudding is an afterthought. Sure, the name leads off with “bread” and said ingredient comprises most of the dish, but in my mind pudding trumps bread every time. Although to be fair, bread should be considered a high card in my Richard Simmons Deal-a-Meal deck. Anyone remember those?

Attention restauranteurs: If a dish requires a fork–or worse yet, a knife–for successful consumption, it ought not be called a pudding. Unless one is British and in the habit of calling any and all sweet endings to a meal “pudding.” Yep, Gordon Ramsay, I’m giving you a pass, even though I’m still holding a grudge about how you made gnocchi look so simple to make on one of your TV shows. It. Is. Not! But I digress…

Based on my traumatic experiences with red velvet cake around these parts, I realize I’d be better off avoiding any semblance of bread pudding here, but that’s nigh impossible. Like Sam in Quantum Leap, I keep ordering the stuff hoping each time that the next bread pudding will be the metaphorical “leap home.”

I can’t tell y’all how many times I’ve succumbed to the siren song of a delectable-sounding dessert listing only to be served a slice of chewy so-called bread pudding. Yes, folks, a slice! I’ll happily devour slices of cake, pie, tarts and, of course, bread. But if there’s any way to slice it, pudding isn’t pudding.

Delicious? Probably. Pudding? Not so much.

Delicious? Probably. Pudding? Not so much.

As soon as I caught a glimpse of the bread pudding at Two Sister’s Kitchen in Jackson, MS, I knew I’d have to pace myself. While I would’ve loved to dig in to more crispy, crunchy fried okra and scrumptious salty biscuits, I managed to save room for the bread pudding. It was speaking to me, y’all. With a megaphone.

When the waitress asked my sister and I if we wanted the B.P. with or without hard sauce, the answer was quick: Duh! When offered the choice between something sweet and something sweet with something sweeter on top of it, these two sisters always go for the latter.

Extra! Click pic and read all about it.

Extra! Click pic and read all about it.

Lo and behold, this was everything B.P. should be–warm, mushy, spoonable, and sweeter than Tupelo honey. I didn’t detect any of the so-called hardness in the sauce (hard as in liquor), but occasionally folks skimp on it either for economic reasons or perhaps to appease Baptist patrons.

Also, this particular B.P. featured nary a raisin, which I considered part of its charm.

I wish I could serve up a scoop of this delicacy to anyone who’s only ever experienced it by the slice. Since that’s a wee bit impractical, I’ll leave y’all with a recipe.

Why didn't somebody tell me about this!!

Why didn’t somebody tell me about this!!

A couple of caveats, I think there ought to be a higher ratio of liquid to bread, seeing as mine always leans a little too far toward the slice-y side for my taste, but I haven’t quite figured out the proper proportions. Next time, I’ll add an extra cup of milk and see how it goes…

I usually manage to botch the first batch of hard sauce, but when I made this for my book club potluck brunch on Saturday using the following recipe, it turned out beautifully (and tastefully). Folks were pouring it on top of everything: baked Bananas Foster oatmeal, apple cinnamon muffins, rhubarb cake, even–wait for it–fresh blueberries. (We may be nerdy book lovers, but boy can we cook!)

Also, while planning ahead is not part of my DNA, I find that prepping this the night before allows time for A. Bread to reach maximum saturation and more importantly, B. sleeping in.

Where’s your favorite place to order bread pudding? Have you ever tried the oh-so-decadent Krispy Kreme variety? Please do tell!

Sort of Authentic Southern-Style Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce
Adapted from Bon Appetit with a little help from Paula Deen.

For the pudding:
7 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
3 cups whole milk (or 2%, if that’s how you roll), warmed up a bit
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-lb. loaf of bread (I like to use brioche or challah, but most any non-savory bread ought to work, except maybe Wonder)

(Note: Additional ingredients are needed for topping and sauce, so read on to make sure you have everything or–if you’re like me–workable substitutes.)

If your bread isn’t already stale, tear it to bits and toast in the oven till slightly brown. By the time you gather the other ingredients, it should be ready.

Butter a 9 x13 baking dish and find somewhere to stash it till needed.

Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add milk, sugar, cream, melted butter, and vanilla then whisk to blend well. Toss in the bread and mush it around till everything’s saturated. Pour it in the baking dish and refrigerate overnight or at least a couple of hours.

For the topping:
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F and while you’re waiting mix together:

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
Cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste

Sprinkle mixture as evenly as possible atop the bread pudding, then bake till puffed and golden–about an hour. (Oh, and you’ll want to put the casserole dish on a baking sheet. I did not and had a heck of a mess at the bottom of the oven.)

For the rum sauce:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp. rum
Cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste

Bon Appetit says:
Stir brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add cream, rum, and spices and bring to simmer. Simmer until sauce thickens and is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

This took me WAY longer to accomplish. Probably because I usually opt for the less is more approach when it comes to heat. Also, because I don’t really know what a “simmer” looks like so every time a few bubbles started popping up, I panicked and turned down the heat. I stirred and stirred, but the stuff just wasn’t thickening. I considered tossing in some cornstarch, but didn’t. Finally, I turned up the heat, bubbles be damned, and it started to thicken up just a bit. Then I ran out of time and just poured the stuff in a faux Tupperware container and headed out. By the time I got to the book club brunch, it was just right.

Photo Credits: Bourbon Bread Pudding by awiskandaspoon, Flickr Creative Commons; Two Sister’s pics and BP Throwdown from eatjackson.com.

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16 Responses to “122. Bread Pudding, the Kind You Eat With a Spoon”

  1. mallory.pickering.5@facebook.com February 26, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Two sisters is my favorite. I have made the Paula Deen stuff myself. Turned out good. Like you, I prefer it sans raisins.

    • Kim Holloway February 27, 2013 at 11:25 am #

      I used to hate raisins altogether, but now I enjoy them on occasion. For example, I make Nigella Lawson’s banana bread, which includes white raisins that you soak in rum for an hour. I reckon plenty of foods would be more palatable after soaking in rum for an hour. Still, raisins just seem to get in the way of a good bread pudding.

  2. Renee Moore February 26, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Can’t wait to try out your recipe, preferably the same day I make my Paul Prudhomme Cajun shrimp, sausage & tasso ham gumbo.You had me drooling at caramel sauce!

    • Kim Holloway February 27, 2013 at 11:26 am #

      It’s sure to go PERFECTLY with that!

  3. Hope February 26, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    I agree that raisins have ruined many a good dessert, and yes, I’ve had bread pudding made from Krispy Kremes AND from Moon Pies! (both gimmicks, but fun nonetheless) But your recipe looks heavenly and I’ll be sure to use it next time I NEED – yes, NEED some bread pudding!

    • Kim Holloway February 27, 2013 at 11:29 am #

      Oh yes, bread pudding is definitely a necessity sometimes!

  4. TommieLyn February 27, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    Your post reminded me of the time I was introduced to the Pacific Northwest version of turkey and dressing, many, many years ago. A friend and I went Christmas shopping in Seattle and stopped at a lunch counter for the noon meal. The special was turkey and dressing. Yay! I thought, because cornbread dressing is an especial favorite comfort food for me.

    When the waitress brought my plate, I saw the slice of turkey, the scoop of green beans (which somebody had forgotten to cook enough), but I searched in vain for the dressing. I flagged the waitress and politely asked if someone had forgotten my dressing. She said, “No, there it is,” pointing to a solid, firm, lump of….something. I tasted it. No. It wasn’t dressing. It was slick, wet white bread flavored with, among other things, something like cinnamon. I don’t know exactly what it was, but…it wasn’t dressing, at least, not in my world.

    So I understand your experience with bread pudding. Perfectly.

    • Kim Holloway February 27, 2013 at 11:35 am #

      The horror! The horror! Folks around these parts would be hard pressed to turn out a decent cornbread dressing, seeing as they think SUGAR is a necessary ingredient! But that gives me an idea: Yankee Pone Pudding…

  5. reelingintheyears.wordpress.com February 27, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    YUM!! Next we need a ‘spoonbread throwdown…:)

    • Kim Holloway February 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

      I must admit, I’ve never made spoonbread. Don’t think I’ve even tasted it. I know I need to rectify that situation real soon! Got a good recipe?

  6. Hippie Cahier February 28, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    Krispy Kremes has bread pudding?! I had no idea.
    I’m glad you said something. I haven’t had bread pudding, probably in decades, because it’s rarely served the way my grandmother made it, which, of course, is not written down anywhere. Your recipe looks delightfully sinful.

    • Kim Holloway February 28, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      Oh, they don’t sell the bread pudding. You have to use the donuts and make it yourself. As if anybody has any leftover Krispy Kremes hanging around.

  7. Todd February 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Teetotallers like to use a vanilla sauce. This is incorrect. It must be bourbon.

    • Kim Holloway February 28, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      Rum’s always been my booze add-in of choice. If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. :-) Don’t tell the ladies at church, but my Southern Baptist mom made vanilla by soaking the beans in vodka.

  8. Tiffany March 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    “I reckon plenty of foods would be more palatable after soaking in rum for an hour.”

    You’re a genius, Kim Holloway. Pure, Southern genius.

    • Kim Holloway March 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      aww, shucks! Thanks, that made my day!

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