Bread pudding, a popular Irish dessert, has origins that date back to the prehistoric times. Both sweet and savory bread puddings were first eaten by ancient peoples. Bread pudding was initially created as a way for cooks to use stale, leftover bread instead of throwing it away. Other uses of stale bread were creating edible serving containers, stuffing, and thickeners. In the 13th century, bread pudding was consider a “poor-man’s pudding”, popular in the lower classes of Britain. Even up until the 19th century, bread pudding recipes were often included in cookbooks under a section entitled “Invalid cookery”. Today, however, bread pudding is a beloved dessert found all over the world, and many recipe variations exist. This recipe is quite traditional, but is topped with an Irish whiskey caramel sauce. This recipe is perfect for fall and winter, and is fantastic served with whipped cream or ice cream on top!
Caramel Whiskey Sauce:
1.5 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup butter
2 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup Jameson (or other Irish whiskey)
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup Jameson (or other Irish whiskey)
1/4 cup butter, melted
French Baguette (16 ounces), cut into 1 inch thick slices
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
To make the Jameson-caramel sauce, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir continuously until the sugar dissolves.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer until the mixture is a golden color (approximately 15 minutes), uncovered. Do not stir.
Remove from the heat.
Vigorously whisk in the butter and cream cheese, ensuring there are no clumps. Be careful when whisking, as the mixture will be very bubbly and hot. Allow to cool slightly before stirring in the whiskey and milk.
Preheat the oven the 350F.
In a small bowl, combine the raisins and whiskey. Cover and let stand until the raisins are soft (approximately 30 minutes).
Brush butter on one side of the bread slices. Place bread, buttered side up, on a baking sheet. Bake the bread for 10 minutes at 350F or until lightly toasted.
Cut the slices into 1/2 inch cubes. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the milk, sugar, vanilla extract, evaporated milk, and lightly beaten eggs. Whisk together.
To the large bowl, add the bread cubes and the raisin mixture. Stir gently to moisten the bread. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.
Spoon the bread mixture into a 9X13 inch baking dish, coated with cooking spray.
Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle over the pudding.
Bake at 350F for 35 minutes or until set.
Drizzle the Jameson-caramel sauce over top. Serve hot. This is also great topped with whipped cream or ice cream!