I wasn’t raised eating bread pudding.
I mean, I had heard of it, but I had never seen it in person. Not at my house, or at a friend’s house, or on a restaurant menu in town.
A friend of mine swears it’s because bread pudding is not a southern dish. However, when you look it up in the great Google machine, there are lots of references to Southern Bread Pudding and recipes in Southern Living magazine and other southern cooking magazines.
I don’t suppose it really matters why I didn’t have it until a couple of years ago. I’m just glad I finally did. Wow, is it ever good!
When I was at the beach last fall, I had a bread pudding at a little hole in the wall place that made me think I had died and gone to heaven.
Of course, after finally getting to try some bread pudding, I decided that I wanted to try making some for myself.
And what do you know, right after that I saw a recipe for Cornbread Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce. Bingo!
Thus the search for the perfect cornbread recipe.
So you start by making the cornbread. If you use the recipe I used (check out my last post if you missed it), you will need to double the recipe. Let it cool and cut it into bite-sized pieces. You should have about 10 cups. (With this recipe, you will end up with closer to 12 cups. That’s fine…you’ll just have a bigger bread pudding. I see no problem with that! Of course, you can also eat a piece or two of cornbread to make it work out like the recipe says…that’s ok, too!)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put the cornbread into a greased 3-quart baking dish. (I used my Pampered Chef Covered Baker. It was just the right size.)
Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it turns golden brown. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Keep whisking until the sugar is melted.
Whisk in 5 eggs until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cornbread and let it stand for 10 minutes.
(Confession time. I got in a hurry to get it done and forgot to let it stand for 10 minutes before putting it in the oven. It turned out fine anyway. I guess letting it stand will let the milk and egg mixture soak in better, but it was okay like I did it. Just goes to show you that a mistake isn’t always a mistake.)
Put the baking dish in the oven, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for 30 more minutes. It should be golden brown and set. If not, let it cook a little longer. Let the pudding stand for 10 minutes before serving.
While the pudding is cooking, prepare the Whiskey Caramel Sauce.
Stir together 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan. Cook for 3 minutes over medium-high heat, or until the sugar melts, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. After the sugar melts, continue to cook without stirring for another 10 minutes, or until it turns medium amber.
Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup butter cut into cubes, 1/4 cup whiskey (I used Jim Beam), 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 1/2 cup sugar. Slowly add the egg mixture to the caramel sauce in the saucepan, whisking constantly. Return the saucepan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until it thickens.
Pour the sauce over each serving of Cornbread Bread Pudding.
Eat and be prepared for a foodgasm. Guaranteed.