If there ever were an animal deserving of praise, it's the chicken. Talk about making something out of nothing! With warmer, sunnier days, a few bugs, and plenty of water, my hens have turned into laying champions! My family loves eggs, but to be honest there are only so many deviled eggs one person can eat. With my counter tops beginning to look like Easter come early, I started searching for egg-heavy recipes to knock down my surplus. I try to make a dessert every weekend (it keeps the boys out of the store-bought junk), but cakes don't take more than a few eggs. Custard takes plenty of eggs, but isn't the kid friendly sweet (at least around here) that I was looking for. Luckily, my husband's birthday was coming up and he gave me my answer! Bread pudding, with its heavy custard base and cinnamon roll-like flavor, was a perfect fit and his favorite dessert.
If you've never made this Southern specialty before, you've missed out on a delicious and economical dessert. Backyard eggs are especially suited to this recipe because a larger percentage of their volume is yolk, which makes for a rich custard. This is also the perfect recipe for you beginner bread bakers in love with the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes recipes, because it uses up any leftover or stale bread. As you have leftover odds and ends, simply cut into cubes and throw into a freezer bag. When you have enough to fill a 9x13 baking pan (about 5 cups worth), mix up the wet ingredients and bake up a bread pudding!
New Orleans Bread Pudding
Enough cubes of stale bread to fill a 9x13 baking pan (around 5 cups), preferably of dense bread like brioche
Butter to grease pan
6-8 eggs, depending on size
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
Grease pan lightly. Combine wet ingredients, sugar, and spices. Fill pan with bread cubes. Cover with egg and cream mixture. Let bread soak up custard for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator, overnight preferred. When ready to bake, set oven to 350 and allow the pan to warm with the oven (taking a pan straight from the fridge to a hot oven could cause glass pans to break). Bake until center is just set, about 40 minutes. Serve warm with Whiskey Sauce or a sprinkle of confectioners sugar, and top with whipped cream.
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon or bourbon flavoring
2 tablespoons milk
Whisk all ingredients together and warm in saucepan on low heat. Pour over top of individual servings.
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