Frank's Authentic New Orleans Bread Pudding

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by Frank Davis / WWL-TV Cooking Expert

wwltv.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 6 at 1:58 PM

Frank's Authentic New Orleans Bread Pudding

1 Tbsp. butter

1 loaf stale New Orleans French Bread

6 eggs, beaten well

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 Tbsp. pure vanilla

2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

5 cups whole milk, scalded

1 cup whipping cream

1 stick butter, melted

2 cups rum-soaked raisins

1 large Rome or Fiji apple, peeled and diced

First, grease an 11 x 14 Pyrex baking pan with the tablespoon of butter.The cut the stale French bread into 2"x2" squares and place them in the pan.

Next, take a large mixing bowl and a piano wire whisk and make an egg custard by creaming together the eggs and the sugar until smooth.

Then whip in the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg until everything is thoroughly incorporated into the custard.

Now stir in the scalded whole milk, the whipping cream, and the butter and work that well into the mixture.

At this point pour the custard mixture over the bread chunks and, using your fingers, work it into the bread until the pieces soften (ideally, you want to allow the bread to truly "soak" into the custard).

Then when the bread becomes "heavenly moist" and fluffy, evenly sprinkle on the raisins and the diced apple (again with your fingers, gently push them into the softened bread).

Finally, sprinkle a little more cinnamon over the top of the pudding and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for about an hour (or until the pudding turns a rich honey brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).

This bread pudding is wonderful served either warm or chilled, especially when it's topped with my Rum Walnut Sauce.Step-by-step, here's how you make it:

1 stick butter, softened

1-1/2 cups dark brown sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Zest of one lemon

Dash cinnamon

Dash allspice

1/2 cup dark Puerto Rican rum

First melt the butter over medium heat in a 3-1/2 quart saucepan, stir in the brown sugar, and cook until the sugar fully melts.

Then rapidly stir in the lemon zest, the vanilla, the walnuts, the cinnamon, and the allspice and cook gently over medium heat until all the ingredients thoroughly come together.

Then just before you're ready to serve, slowly pour in the rum, stir it quickly into the sauce, and cook it-slowly stirring all the while-for about 3 minutes to marry the ingredients and to drive off all but the essence of the liqueur.

Y'all, I know it sounds complicated, but it's really just that simple.

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Chef's Notes:

There's a certain way to "scald" milk.You pour it into a deep saucepan and heat the milk gently, stirring constantly.Don't let it come to a boil and don't let it burn! When you see tiny bubbles beginning to form around the edge of the pan, take the pan off the fire and stir the milk until the bubbling stops. Some food scientists say that because of pasteurization it's no longer necessary (it was done originally to kill whatever bacteria might be in the milk). . .other scientists, however, say it should still be done when doing baked goods.I always scald the milk that goes into my bread pudding.

To make the raisins plump up and take on an even greater flavor, soak them in the rum for about 30 minutes before dropping them into the pudding. Of course, reserve the rum for use in the sauce.

I suggest you use this sauce recipe to experiment with liqueurs other than rum.For example, you can try Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, Galliano, Kailua, Peach or Apple Brandy, Southern Comfort, Amaretto and a wide variety of others.It's just a matter of letting your imagination be your guide.

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