03 December 2012

Eggnog and Cranberry Bread Pudding with a Hard Bourbon Sauce

Excuse me while I channel my inner Liz Lemon while I go "What the whaaaaat!?" Two posts in one day? Could it be so!?

Well, yes, yes it could be. I'm serious when I say that I buy wholeheartedly in to seasonal flavors. I was all about the pumpkin earlier this year (and still am, actually), but as of recent it's like there's a little voice in my head whispering 'eggnog' to me throughout the day. It's torturous, I swear! And with no roommates, I have no one to tattle on me if I were to polish off a bottle in a day. My waistline might tell a different story, though. Anyway, that's neither here nor there, so let's get to the good stuff!

Eggnog and Cranberry Bread Pudding with a Hard Bourbon Sauce

Adapted from some recipe my mom has coveted as her own for years. I don't know which cookbook it's from, but I would wager a bet on the Silver Palette or one of David Wood's cookbooks. (Also, I bet this vanilla bourbon cranberry sauce would be absolute money with this bread pudding if you made it more compote-style, but that's for another day!)

Bread pudding ingredients
  • 8 tbs butter, room temperature
  • 1 baguette or challah bread (enough to yield 4 c of cubed bread)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole fat eggnog
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbl sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh cranberries
Hard bourbon sauce ingredients
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 5 tbl bourbon
  • 4 tbl (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 tbs pieces
  1. Cut off the ends of your carbalicious vehicle of choice. Next, cut the carbs into one inch cubes (or smaller). Butter each of these little puppies on all four sides. That's right, ALL FOUR SIDES. This should require at least one stick of butter and no, I'm not kidding.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, bourbon, 1/2 cup of the sugar, nutmeg, and salt until blended.  Add the bread cubes and toss until evenly coated.
  3. Refrigerate the pudding for at least 2 hours, occasionally tossing the mixture with a large spoon (or your hands, don't be afraid to get messy) to make sure all the cubes are getting their fair share of eggnog bourbon goodness.  
  4. Fifteen minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350'F.  Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with butter.  Add the cranberries to the pudding, toss, and then pour the pudding into the baking dish.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 tbl. sugar over the top of the pudding.
  5. Bake the pudding on the center oven rack until the top is crisp and golden, and has risen in the center, about 50 minutes.
  6. While the pudding is baking, now is your time to make some bourbon sauce! Start by putting a small sauce pan filled with 3/4" to an 1" of water on the stove and whisking together the egg yolks and sugar in a container that can be used as the top of a double boiler. (I usually go for a small glass (Pyrex) bowl that I later put on top of said small sauce pan.) You'll want to whisk until the mixture is a light yellow color, which will take 2-3 minutes. Afterward, go crazy and whisk in the bourbon!
  7. Once the water is simmering and your sauce is mixed, add the bowl/top off of the double boiler to the heat. Cook, whisking vigorously, until the mixture is hot and slightly thickened, 5 minutes.
  8. Remove sauce from heat once the mixture has thickened, add the butter slices one at a time, and stir until all of the butter has melted. 
  9. Serve the sauce warm over the bread pudding.  If you prepare the sauce ahead of time, reheat it in the microwave, heating it one minute at at time and stirring in-between heating sessions. 


  1. You had me at bourbon sauce... This sounds delicious! :)

    1. It's a family favorite! It's also my favorite way to help out during the holidays. Set me up with a baguette or two and some softened butter, and I am ready to go! We just won't talk about how much breaded butter I sneak for myself... ;)

  2. Love bread puddings and this one sound fantastic!

    1. It's such a simple one, too! I think the only way it could be "messed" up would be to not butter the bread enough before soaking it in the custard, but that's nothing the bourbon sauce can't fix!