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Help w/ Bread Pudding

SirKeatsSirKeats Posts: 159
edited 11:01PM in EggHead Forum
So I'm working on a bread pudding recipe and could use some help. First let me provide the recipe I have now and then I'll explain the issues that arose:[p]Ingredients
1 (12") loaf French bread
1 pint heavy cream
1 stick butter
5 eggs
1/2 pint whiskey
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cup sugar
3/4 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dark brown sugar[p]Cut crust of bread and discard (or use for something else). Cut bread into 3/4 inch squares.[p]Fire up egg and stabilize at 350-400 dome temp.[p]Melt butter into cream on stove over medium heat.[p]Mix eggs, whiskey, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon in separate bowl. Once well combined, slowly add to cream and butter. Whisk continually for 2-3 minutes until fully heated.[p]Add bread to mix and gently fold until mix is well absorbed.[p]Using slotted spoon, transfer bread to pre-buttered 8x8 baking dish.[p]Top with a layer of brown sugar.[p]Bake (in Egg of course) for 45-60 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
[p]So, now onto the issues I had... there are two:[p]1) I used a plate-setter (upside down so the legs pointed down) but still the bottom of the pudding burnt. I'm working with a super high sugar content here, I know, so obviously preventing burning is going to be a challenge. Should I cook at a lower temp for longer?[p]2) The pudding tasted great (there was a topping I made for it too, but it's all done on the stove so I didn't include that recipe here) but it was too soggy for my liking. I prefer a dryer, firmer, bread pudding. I only left the bread out for about 20 minutes or so. Should I let it set out for a day or two to get it super stale first? Would that help? Or maybe French bread isn't the best option given my desire for a firmer pudding... maybe Italian bread or something else?[p]Also... not an issue really, just a tweak to the recipe I need to make. I LOVE whiskey, but it was a tad strong in the pudding even at just 1/2 pint. I'm going to cut that back a bit next time. Not sure what I'll cut back to though yet. Maybe like 3/4 cup and see how that tastes.[p]Thanks folks for the help!!


  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    SirKeats,[p]Problem #1: Put a spacer between your plate setter and baking pan. I use a grid or the ceramic feet. This reduces the heat to the bottom of the baking pan and reduces the chances of burning the bottom.[p]Problem #2: Use a little more bread, let it sit out at least overnight, and after adding your liquid to it, let it sit and absorb for an hour or two - tossing every ten minutes or so. Any liquid not absorbed should be discarded.[p]My grandmother taught me to make bread pudding ages ago. I still love it to this day but don't make it nearly often enough.
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,488
    SirKeats, FWIW, to me, most store-bought French & Italian loaves tend to be quite soft & lacking in substance if they're very fresh. Let them "age" a bit or perhaps try a firmer, heartier bread (peasant, etc). Good luck![p]Rascal

  • Chef WilChef Wil Posts: 702
    I will try and help but its hard no being in the kitchen to see all the elements. First things first, cut your bread the day before and let it sit out uncovered so it can dry up. When cooking the custard, cook it on a low fire for about 20 minutes or until it coats the back of a spoon, you want to make sure most of the moisture is cooked out of the custard base for the bread pudding. Then you should actually soak the bread for about 8 to 12 hours before cooking the bread pudding to allow the bread cubes to rehydrate with the custard. Each cube should be plump and juicy.
    Cooking should be indirect, use a pizza stone or fire bricks as the buffer and then place your bread pudding on the plate-setter and cook at about 325 instead of 400.
    One suggestion is trying light brown instead of dark brown sugar. It should feel firm to the touch when its cooked.
    The issue of the whiskey, try another kind, maybe your whiskey is too harsh, maybe consider Southern Comfort, its smooth and a little sweet. One question I have is why are you throwing away the top crust of the bread, there is no point unless it was cooked too dark from the bakery.[p]To throw a twist at ya...... try croissants instead of bread, it gives another dimension.[p]I hope I didn't get to extreme, if your interested in different techniques and flavors, shoot me an email.
    Caramel Apple, white chocolate peach with a blueberry zinfandel sauce, or maybe a banana's foster bread pudding with a creme anglaise ???

  • SirKeatsSirKeats Posts: 159
    Chef Wil,[p]Great info! Thanks![p]I cut the crust off simply because the collection of original recipies I found that I used to create mine all called for crust removal. I'll definitely try it with the crust on next time as it was a pain (even with an electric knife) cutting the crusts off.[p]I'll probably try this again this weekend so I'll post a follow up. Thanks again for your input![p]Question - why light brown sugar as opposed to dark. Is it just a flavor suggestion or is there another reason? The dark brown sugar worked well and created a nice crunch crust.

  • Chef WilChef Wil Posts: 702
    dark is ok, i find the light not as strong
    lightly sprinkle the finished top with light brown sugar and maybe even a little chopped pecans and use that Mapp torch to carmelize the sugar
    NOW YOU HAVE A CRUNCH ............ LOL

  • HaggisHaggis Posts: 998
    SirKeats,[p]Sounds terrific - one of my favorite dishes from my ancient youth. [p]Anytime the bottom of something burns you only need to provide air space between the container and the platesetter. You can use the green feet or something else, just as with the Mad Max turkey. Try, perhaps, wadded up foil or copper plumbing tees. I find them both better than the green feet because they don't require exact placement under the container. You could even use a wire rack of some kind.
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