Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bread Pudding Soufflè with Whiskey Sauce

Bread Pudding:

3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
3 medium eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
5 cups New Orleans French Bread, 1" cubed (see note below)
1/3 cup raisins
1 (18" length or approximately 1-1/3 G/ sliced thinly)
Whiskey Sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water
3 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
9 medium egg whites
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar 

      Heat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).  Grease 8x8" baking pan.  Bread pudding:  Combine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Beat in eggs until smooth, then work in heavy cream.  Add vanilla, then bread cubes.  Allow bread to soak up custard.  Place raisins in a greased pan.  Top with egg mixture, which prevents the raisins from burning.  Bake about 25 - 30 minutes, or until pudding has a golden brown color and is firm to touch.  If a toothpick inserted in pudding comes out clean, it is done.  Mixture of pudding should be nice and moist, not runny or dry.  Cool to room temperature.  Whiskey Sauce:  Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil.  Whisk corn-starch and water, add to cream while whisking.  Bring to a boil.  Whisk and let simmer a few seconds, taking care not to burn mixture on bottom.  Remove from heat.  Stir in sugar and bourbon.  Taste, to ensure sauce has a thick consistency, a sufficiently sweet taste, and a good bourbon flavor.  Cool to room temperature.  Meringue:   Butter 6 (6 oz.) ramekins.  Be certain1 bowl and whisk are clean.  Egg whites should be completely free of yolk, and will whip better if chill is off them.  This dish needs a good, stiff meringue.  In a large bowl or mixer, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.  Add sugar gradually, and continue whipping until shiny and thick.  Test with a clean spoon.  If whites stand up stiff, like shaving cream, when you removed spoon, meringue is ready.  Do not overwhip, or whites will break down and soufflé will not work.  In a large bowl, break 1/2 bread pudding into pieces using your hands or a spoon.  Gently fold in 1/4 of meringue, being careful not to lose the air in whites.  Add a portion of this base to each ramekin.  Place remaining bread pudding in the bowl, break into pieces, and carefully fold in the rest of the meringue. Top off soufflés with this lighter mixture, about 1-1/2".  Smooth and shape tops with spoon into a dome over ramekin rim.  Bake immediately about 20 minutes. or until golden brown.  Serve immediately.  Using a spoon, poke a hole in top of each soufflé at table, and pour room-temperature whiskey sauce inside soufflé.

Note:  New Orleans French bread is very light and tender.  If substitute bread is used that is too dense, it will soak up all custard and this will not work.

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