Everyone’s a little bit Irish on St. Patty’s Day, right? I am proud to be part Irish, but if I wasn’t, I’d fib just a little if it meant I could enjoy more of this Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Whiskey Sauce. St. Patty’s Day isn’t all about corned beef and Irish whiskey, but I’m always grateful for any excuse to make this dessert. It’s just that good. And I’m a stickler for bread pudding. No dense masses of soggy bread for me.
This recipe practices restraint. It has less liquid than most, and, as a result, you can actually taste the individual ingredients rather than a bowl of eggy custard. And what yummy ingredients they are: buttery Challah, rich molasses, whiskey-soaked raisins, and, of course, the heady spices of cinnamon and ginger. Toasting the bread cubes before combining them with the liquid is a must. Try it. You’ll find that your bread pudding retains more texture when baked.
Since St. Patrick’s Day IS a celebration, I had to take this dessert one step further and add a rich salted caramel whiskey sauce to fill in all of those nooks and crannies in the bread pudding…nirvana! This recipe can be easily made without the whiskey. Simply plump your raisins in boiling water and omit the whiskey in the sauce (though that means you are clearly NOT Irish.) Note the caramel sauce will harden quite a bit as it cools without the extra liquid from the whiskey, so you’ll need to reheat it to make it pourable.
No matter how you plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, this dessert is a delicious way to end your festivities. Lucky you!
P.S. I used 2 Gingers whiskey in this recipe. It’s made in Ireland and currently available only in the Midwest. Check out their story here.
1 cup golden raisins, plumped in whiskey for 1 hour and drained
Butter for greasing the baking dish(es)
3 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons butter
¼ c heavy cream
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4-6 tablespoons whiskey
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 6-8 minutes.
You can use either a 9 x 13 baking dish or ramekins to make the bread pudding. Depending on the capacity of your ramekins, you’ll need anywhere from 8-12 ramekins. Butter your baking dish(es). If using ramekins, set them on a baking sheet.
Use a handheld mixer to beat together the eggs and sugar. Add the ground spices, vanilla and salt and mix to combine.
Heat the milk and molasses until lukewarm (either on the stove or in the microwave). Gradually add the warm milk to the egg mixture and beat until combined.
Spread the bread cubes out in your baking dish or divide them evenly among the ramekins. Sprinkle the raisins over the top and pour the custard over the bread mixture. You’ll need to move around some of the bread cubes to make sure they get soaked by the custard. Let stand for 5 minutes. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is browned and the pudding is set. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Salted Caramel Whiskey Sauce:
Place sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat and stir the until sugar has dissolved. If you find sugar crystals forming on the side of the pan, dip a pastry brush in cold water and wipe them away. After all of the sugar is completely dissolved, increase the heat to high.
Keep an eye on the caramel but do not agitate it. This means no stirring. Occasionally grab the handle of the pan and swirl the sugar water mixture to ensure it is cooking evenly. The color will start to change and darken after 3-5 minutes. You want it a dark amber but not burnt. When the sugar water mixture has reached the desired color, stir in the butter and heavy cream. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes and then stir in the whiskey.