Bread Pudding with Warm Bourbon Sauce

The Bread Pudding Wars
Recently Phil and I had a Bread Pudding Cook-off and neither of us will concede to losing.  In reality, after doing what we each thought was the perfect bread pudding, we did agree that maybe a combination of certain elements from each of our recipes would create a better dish than either one was on its own.  The inspiration for my recipe came from a restaurant in Plano, TX called Fishmongers.  Wonderful bread pudding is served there.  I became familiar with the dish when my older daughter worked there as a waitress for a while.  Phil's recipe came from a friend  who made his version of the pudding during one of their Alaskan trips.  What ever the inspiration, we think this ended up being a great bread pudding.  I do not apologize for the calorie count. 
Since this is a treat that we consume only occasionally, I don't really care.

I loaf of bread (I have used Italian, French, or sandwich sliced white bread)
12 Tbsp butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted
1 Cup packed light brown sugar
4 Cups milk
5 large eggs
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 Cup raisins (or Craisins)

1 8-oz can crushed pineapple, undrained
1/4 Cup bourbon (optional)

1 recipe Bourbon Sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

  1. Brush a 13" X 9" X 3" glass baking dish with 4 Tbsp of the melted butter.  Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the dish and set aside.
  2. Cut or tear the bread into 1-inch pieces and place in a bowl.  Pour the milk over the bread and let stand 4-5 minutes or until the bread softens.
  3. Combine eggs, granulated sugar, remaining butter and vanilla in a bowl.  Whisk together until well blended.  
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the bread-milk mixture and add the raisins.  Gently stir to mix.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, cover and bake 50-60 minutes.  Uncover and cook an additional 15-20 minutes.  Watch the top of the pudding to determine when it is finished.  The surface should be golden brown but not completely dried out.
  6. Remove from the oven.  You can pour the bourbon over the top of the pudding or omit it if serving for people not wanting alcohol. 
Spoon the pudding into individual dishes and top with 2-3 tablespoons of bourbon sauce. 

Bourbon Sauce
In a small saucepan, melt 1/2 C butter.  Whisk in 1 C sugar.  Remove from the heat and stir in 1 C heavy cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/4 C bourbon.  Gently warm sauce and serve over bread pudding. 



Refrigerate left-overs.  Individual servings can be reheated by spooning pudding into ramekins and heated in the microwave.  Heat the sauce over a low temperature on the stove until warm.  Ladle sauce over pudding and serve. 

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