Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Brown Butter-Brown Sugar-Bourbon Bread Pudding with Salty Butterscotch Sauce & Vanilla Bean-Bourbon Glaze

Brown Butter-Brown Sugar-Bourbon Bread Pudding with Salty Butterscotch Sauce
+ Vanilla Bean-Bourbon Glaze
SOOOOOOOOO I'm backkkkkkkk. Yippee (does anyone actually say that anymore?). Okay, so let's get onto the recipe. One of my favorite recent desserts to date. I hate traditional bread pudding. SOGGY BREAD? Ew. Canned fruit cocktail... Get'outta'here. But, this... this, my friend, is a Southern girl's dream. This is layered with buttery brioche and chewy & crusty french baguette, and then covered in a custard made with brown butter, brown sugar, bourbon, eggs, cream, milk, and vanilla. The layering process is key. First start with stale or slightly hardened bread, cube it up, air it out... just let it all hang out. The next day, you have to layer. I did this by making an even layer of brioche bread, stuffed in the middle was the torn baguette bread. Press those chaotic guys in tightly and do another layer of brioche bread to pack it all in again. This will make perfectly cut cubes, superb for serving!! Soak the bad b*tch, long + had, until it's ooey-gooey. After that, you bake it until golden brown, but super moist and melty-yummy. The sauces are optional, but I feel they are a requirement. We made a Salty Butterscotch Sauce and a Vanilla Bean-Bourbon Glaze to douse the bread pudding squares... ya know to soak them even more. And if you wanna go into early hypertension, do this whole 'thang a la mode with a scoop of brown butter ice cream!! Enjoy :)

For the Bread Pudding:
1lb Brioche Bread, Trimmed of Crusts & Cut into Squares (sandwich-like slices)
½lb French Baguette, Torn or Cut into 2inch Pieces
1 ½C Dark Brown Sugar
2 Sticks of Melted, Brown Butter (make sure it has cooled, so it won’t curdle the eggs)
5 Large Eggs, Lightly Beaten
4C Half & Half
1C Whole Milk
¼C High Quality Bourbon
3T Vanilla Extract
¼t Cinnamon (scant)
1t Sea Salt

For the Salty Butterscotch Sauce:
4T Unsalted Butter, Melted
½C Light Brown Sugar, Packed
½C Heavy Cream
½t Sea Salt
1 ½t Vanilla Extract
Vanilla Bean Fleur de Sel, For Sprinkling (or any high quality flaky salt)
For the Vanilla Bean-Bourbon Glaze:
4T Unsalted Butter, Melted
2T Bourbon
1C Confectioners’ Sugar, Sifted
½C Heavy Cream
1 Vanilla Bean, Split & Scraped for Seeds
Pinch of Salt (or to taste)

1. Prepping the Bread: Cut the loaf or loaves of Brioche bread into thick, sandwich-like slices. Trim the slices of all of their crusts and make sure they are straight edged squares or rectangles. There is no exact measurement for these bread squares; I just cut them, so that I could lay them in a flat layer on the bottom of the baking dish (only use a half pound of the brioche bread, save the other half of the pound for repeating this process for the top layer). In reference to the baguette bread, either tear them into rustic pieces or cut them into roughly 2inch cubes. Let the bread sit for a few hours so that they can become somewhat stale or lightly toast them in the oven to dry them out some. By doing this, the bread pudding will soak up more of the custard, but also retain the texture and shape of the bread without becoming completely mushy while cooking.
2. Layering the Bread: There will be three layers of bread: a flat bottom layer of brioche, a middle layer of cubed or torn baguette bread, and a final top layer of brioche (exactly like the bottom layer).  So, to begin, spray a large square dish or 13x9-inch baking pan with Pam. Layer a half-pound of brioche bread slices in the bottom of the prepared pan. This layer should be flat and even, while also covering every inch of the pan (you will have to cut some of the larger slices of bread into smaller squares and fit them into the open spaces, squeezing them in like a puzzle). Top the bottom brioche layer with the pieces of baguette bread, making sure they are evenly distributed, but completely packed into the pan. At this time, set the bread meant for the top layer aside because we want to soak the bottom layers some with the custard to ensure even soaking.
3. Making the Custard: In a large mixing, bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and brown butter until a loose, wet sand is formed. Add in the lightly beaten eggs and whisk again until the eggs have blended into the sugar. Pour in all of the liquid… the half & half, milk, bourbon, and vanilla extract, and beat until the custard is creamy and smooth. Lastly, season with salt.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
5. Finishing the Bread Pudding: Pour half of the custard mixture over the two layers of bread, making sure to lightly press the bread with your hands, so that they absorb all of the liquid. Next, place the other half-pound of brioche bread slices on top of the custard-soaked bread layers by repeating the same process of laying them flatly on top of the baguette pieces (just do exactly what you did for the bottom layer). Gradually pour the remaining custard mixture over the top brioche layer. Once again, press the bread with your hands to help them equally soak up all of the liquid. Spray the top of the soaked bread with some Pam to prevent sticking. Cover the entire baking dish with plastic wrap, and then cover with aluminum foil. Place the bread pudding pan into a larger roasting pan and pour in hot water halfway up the sides (this creates a water bath and ensures perfectly moist bread pudding).
6. Baking the Bread Pudding: Bake the bread pudding (covered) for an hour.  After an hour of baking, remove the aluminum foil and plastic wrap and bake another 15-20 minutes. Remove the bread pudding from the oven and use a knife to loosen the edges. Invert the bread pudding onto another buttered baking sheet and return it to the oven to bake a final 15-20 minutes. This will ensure that both sides of the bread pudding are golden brown in color and perfectly crisped. Let the bread pudding sit on a cooling rack, so that it can firm up and set properly. In the meantime, make the salty butterscotch sauce and vanilla bean-bourbon glaze.
7. For the Salty Butterscotch Sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, cream, and salt. Whisk until blended and bring it to a very gentle boil and cook for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Pour the sauce into a bowl and sprinkle the top with vanilla bean fleur de sel. Keep warm until you are ready to drizzle it over the bread pudding.
8. For the Vanilla Bean-Bourbon Glaze: Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl, and then whisk in the melted butter and bourbon, stirring until combined. Mix in the heavy cream, vanilla bean seeds, and a pinch of salt until a creamy glaze has been formed. Set aside until you are ready to drizzle it over the bread pudding.
9. Serving the Bread Pudding: Cut a large square of the warm bread pudding and place it onto a serving plate. Drizzle the top of the square with the salty butterscotch sauce and vanilla bean-bourbon glaze (and as for concerning leftovers, place a serving of cold bread pudding in a bowl, douse it in some of the salty butterscotch sauce, and reheat it in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute; this will ensure that it is extra soft and moist in texture). If you want to make it extra decadent, pile on a scoop of homemade brown butter or vanilla bean ice cream to make it a la mode.
extra drizzled
A la Mode with Brown Butter Ice Cream... the only way to do this. 


  1. Drooling....dreaming....soooo making this for my daughter and I when we have our next girls day.

    1. oh-so-perfect for a girls night!