Add a Southern classic to your Thanksgiving table.
Thanksgiving is in one week and I’m not ready! Good thing I’m only cooking for us this year, but I still want to make it a special so I’m busy planning my menu.
I thought it would be fun to add a Southern dish this year, so I found today’s recipe in the Junior League of Chattanooga’s cookbook, Seasoned to Taste, and it’s perfect! Well, almost perfect – at least I could modify it with non-dairy alternatives.
To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of bread pudding. I didn’t have it much growing up, and the few times I did try it it was pure mush. Yuck! Mushy textures totally gross me out. I still don’t like eating oatmeal, grits or the like for that very reason.
However, a couple of years ago whilst living in Louisiana my distaste for bread pudding flipped on its head. We were at our first (and only) LSU football game in Baton Rouge because a had been given free tickets that included VIP passes to the LSU Athletic Department’s tailgate with food and drinks. (If you couldn’t tell by our K-State Homecoming tradition or our North Carolina trip, Dan and I love visiting college campuses and going to football games.) It was a preseason game in August (I think) and it was hot as blazes! Oh my goodness, I’ve never sweat so much in my life! I looked like I had dunked my head in a water bucket, and I have the pictures to prove it.
Anyway, at that tailgate I had the best bread pudding of my life, which is even more impressive considering it was a million degrees and the food was outside under a tent. Nevertheless, from that experience I learned that bread pudding could be both crispy on top and soft (not mushy) on the inside. I especially loved the spices (hello, Louisiana!) and pecan crunch. It was wonderful and forever changed my opinion of bread pudding.
This recipe came straight from the JLC cookbook, and I made it exactly according to the directions. However, I think if I make it again I’ll make a few more modifications. But first, here’s the recipe:
Bread Pudding with Jack Daniel’s® Sauce
8 extra large eggs
2 C. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
5 1/2 C. milk (I used almond milk)
1 ( 16 oz.) loaf French bread, torn into pieces
1/4 C. pecans (I used 1/2 cups because I love pecans)
1/2 C. butter, melted
*2 t. ground cinnamon (I added this, it wasn’t part of the original recipe)
Jack Daniel’s® Sauce
2 C. confectioners’ sugar
1 C. butter, melted
2 extra large eggs, beaten
2 1/2 T. Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Whiskey (I substituted with Maker’s Mark because it’s what I had on hand)
- To prepare the bread pudding, whisk the eggs, sugar and salt lightly in a bowl. Wish in the vanilla and milk [and cinnamon] until blended.
- Toss the bread pieces and pecans with the melted butter in a bowl to coat well. Spread evenly in a 9×13 in. baking pan. Pour the milk mixture over the top.
- Place the pan in a larger pan. Fill the larger pan with water to come halfway up the side of the smaller pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- To prepare the same, whisk the confectioners’ sugar a small amount at a time into the melted butter in a bowl.
- Fold in the eggs, making sure the butter is not hot enough to cook the eggs. Stir in the whiskey. Serve warm over the bread pudding.
Note: If you are concerned about using raw eggs, use eggs pasteurized in their shells, which are sold at some specialty food stores, or use an equivalent amount of pasteurized egg substitute.
Like I mentioned before, if I make this recipe again I’ll make some modifications. I had an issue with my milk and egg mixture curdling during the baking process, so I did a lot of research into other bread pudding recipes and came up with some modifications that I think would help. For instance, I’ll probably use less liquid and egg mixture by half. I’ll let the bread soak for 30 minutes – 1 hour before baking. I’d bake it for 45 minutes with a foil tent, remove the foil and then bake for another 45 minutes like this recipe from Barefoot Contessa recommends. The whiskey sauce was delicious but again the eggs gave me issues, so I would make this whiskey sauce from The Pioneer Woman using butter, cream, sugar and whiskey.
Baking a new recipe is always an adventure. I haven’t given up on bread pudding because of one bad bake. I think I’ll make this recipe again with the modifications I mentioned because, hey, I still have one week until Thanksgiving! 😉
Joie de vivre and bread pudding!