Like many Portland food bloggers, I spent last Friday baking my buns off in preparation for the PDX Blogger Bake Sale that was held on Saturday to benefit Share Our Strength “No Kid Hungry.” One of the things I made is a personal favorite – Bread Pudding – comfort food in its purest form. This Cranberry & White Chocolate version is finished with a healthy dose of Cinnamon Whiskey Sauce, and the only thing that could have it better would have been a warm oven to serve it from. And warm would have been very welcome too, because on the day of the sale, it rained and rained and rained. But Portlanders don’t melt: we had a wonderful time and a successful sale in spite of the precipitation.
Fun Fact: Portlanders have over twenty names for rain, based on amount, intensity, consistency and duration.
Cranberry & White Chocolate Bread Pudding
- 6 eggs beaten
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups half & half
- 3 cups milk
- 1 tbs. vanilla
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 lb. loaf of at least 2-day old bread, cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup cinnamon whiskey [Fireball] See note for non-alcohol version
- ¼ cup half & half
Preheat oven to 325°.
In a large bowl, whip together eggs and sugars. Add milk, half & half, vanilla extract and cinnamon.
Add the bread cubes, cranberries and white chocolate to the egg mixture. Stir to coat, and then let it all sit for about 20 minutes to give the egg mixture time to saturate the bread.
Pour the bread cube and egg mixture into a greased glass 9x9 baking dish. Press it down a little - you should see a little of the liquid rise up in between the bread cubes. (If it seems really dry, I sometimes mix up another egg with about 3/4 cup of milk and drizzle that over the top. It really depends on the density of the bread you are using.)
Bake 45-60 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned. Insert a toothpick or skewer into the bread pudding – it should come out clean.
To make the sauce, mix sugar, butter and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over low heat until it begins to boil. Remove from heat and stir in whiskey. It should bubble up and release the alcohol. Stir in half & half. Serve warm sauce over warm bread pudding.
Un-Whiskey Sauce: All of the alcohol cooks out of this sauce when made as directed, but if you prefer not to use alcohol in your cooking at all (which you do every time you use vanilla extract), just leave the whiskey out of the sauce. In that case, add a teaspoon of cinnamon with the sugar, and a tablespoon of vanilla in place of the whiskey. The result will be a much milder, but still delicious, sauce.