Summary: My foodie friend, C, adapted this from Thomas Keller’s recipe in Ad Hoc at Home. It’s quite possibly the best bread pudding I’ve ever had. The whiskey sauce recipe follows.
- 3 c whole milk (Keller uses 2¼ c)
- 1 c heavy cream (Keller uses 2¼ c)
- 1 c sugar
- 1 T vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
- 1 loaf Challah (Keller uses a 14″ Brioche Pullman loaf)
- 6 eggs (Keller uses 10)
- 2-3 apples, cut into 1.5″ cubes (Keller uses 3 bananas)
- ~½ c clarified butter
- Combine the milk, cream, ½ c sugar and vanilla paste (if using extract, don’t add at this time) in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract, if using that instead of paste.
- Preheat the broiler. Cut the Challah into 1½” cubes. [If using brioche, cut the crusts from the loaf of bread; cut the bread in half, then cut lengthwise into slices that are about ½" thick; you will need 8 slices of bread (reserve the remaining bread for another use).]
- Put the cubes on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler until golden brown, tossing occasionally to toast evenly. Remove from the broiler.
- Lightly whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining ½ c sugar. Whisk several ladles of the milk mixture into the yolk mixture, the whisk the yolk mixture back into the milk. Strain through a fine-mesh basket strainer into a bowl and let the custard cool completely.
- Meanwhile, saute your apple cubes in a bit of butter until starting to soften. Remove from heat.
- Toss apples and bread cubes together and pour into a 9×13 baking pan. Pour the cool custard over to coat. Cover the bread pudding with a piece of plastic wrap and press down gently. Let stand for at least 20 minutes, longer if you have time.
- Preheat your oven too 300 (C’s oven runs cold so she heated to 350; adjust your oven accordingly).
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer. Remove the plastic wrap and place a piece of parchment paper over the top of the bread pudding. Cover the pan with foil.
- Put the baking pan in a larger pan, such as a roasting pan. Carefully pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come about two-thirds up the sides of the baking pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the pudding registers 180°F; a knife inserted into the center should come out clean.
- Carefully remove the baking pan from the water bath (using a turkey baster or the like to remove some of the water first might make this easier), set on a cooling rack, and let cool, still covered, to room temp.
- Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or for up to 2 days.
- Serve with warm caramel whiskey sauce.
Read through this recipe before starting it. It’s not difficult but there are several steps and while much of it is not active time, you need nearly a day to really have this turn out. It is well worth the effort.
Number of servings (yield): 12