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{August 9, 2008}   Praline Bread Pudding

Well, I contemplated making boiled peanuts since everyone always buys them in spite of the fact that they are sinfully easy but forgot to get around to buying shelled peanuts and didn’t want to go out to the store just for that so I will definitely make some boiled peanuts later and pop them up here (because now I’ve got the itch, hahaha). Then I decided I really wanted to make a dessert anyway, and I really wanted to make buttermilk ice cream (a creole classic that is sublime and would likely not make it thru the night in this house) but I have no buttermilk here. So I remembered my Restaurant Favorites cookbook (p 381-2) had a bread pudding I’ve been putting off making so here is a version of it…

Praline Bread Pudding (slightly adj. from an adaptation of the Praline Bread Pudding a’ la Louisiane at Primos in Baton Rouge)

The remaining pudding, sauced, going in the fridge.

The remaining pudding, sauced, going in the fridge.

1/4 lb (4 oz) french bread cubes, stale or toasted
3 oz pecans, toasted (around 3/4 c halves, I think)
2 T unsalted butter, diced (plus some for greasing)
4 lg eggs + 1 lg yolk
1 T ea: vanilla extract and praline liqueur (or hazelnut liqueur)
3.5 oz sugar (around 1/2 c)
1 c ea: heavy cream and whole milk
sauce
1 lg egg yolk
2 T sugar
1 T praline liqueur (or hazelnut liqueur)
2 T butter

Blitz eggs/egg yolk, vanilla, liqueur, and sugar together in blender to a soft yellow. Add cream and pulse a bit. Throw bread in greased dish, cover with half to 3/4 of custard mix top with nuts, cover with cling film and fridge it until enough is absorbed to add the rest of the mix. Top off with the last of the custard mix and fridge it again until mostly absorbed (maybe 45 min-ish).

Preheat oven to 350 dot the top of the pudding with the butter cubes and bake until dark brown and has a slight camel hump of a puff to the center and custard is set. (I know not how long because I opened the oven way too many times and that greatly affects things) Cool on a rack, and set about the sauce.

Heat sugar and liqueur gently in a double boiler whisking until sugar is dissolved. Beat slowly into the yolk and plack the yolk bowl over the simmering water, whisking until fluffly pale yellow and just beginning to thicken, no more than a couple min. Remove from heat and add melted butter, whisking until well mixed and creamy.

Check out more Cajun/Creole recipes at Joelen’s roundup.

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cejaystine says:

To answer the question about what I changed: no I won’t type the whole recipe I’m much too lazy and I gave a page number so you can easily find it if you so desire…it’s “Restaurant Favorites at Home” by America’s Test Kitchen. But the main changes I made were cutting the heavy cream and using some milk, and making about 1/3 of the batch of pudding and 1/4 the batch of sauce. And they obviously didn’t make it in the blender. Any other changes I made were negligable I’m sure. But it called for a dozen eggs plus 6 yolks and 6 cups of heavy cream so I doubt any of my near and dear would have made it as is except maybe my Papa anyway.

To answer the why’d I slack off on the recipe review: Because I was sort of ashamed to admit I’d probably never bother making it again in the same breath as submitting it for the challenge, LOL. But since I’ve been called out on it…

What I’d do differently: I’d probably not fuss with the sauce it was a pain in the rump and really not so fab…I don’t like when laborious things are only so-so. I’d probably not bother to toast the nuts, I am a big fan of toasting/roasting nuts but since these sat on top a few got a bit over browned (read this as just to the edible side of burnt) by the time the pudding was done and probably would have come out perfect had they not been pre-toasted. Moreover I’d bake it in an ungreased, or greased only on the bottom, dish with tall sides IMHO eggy things like this do better with ungreased sides as they can grip better to climb and in climb you see the reason for tall sides. So why’d I bake in a pie pan when I’ve made enough bread pudding to know better? Two fold: 1) I was using 1/3 a loaf of bread so my 2.5 qt usual seemed ridiculous and my loaf pans are in the freezer, and 2) I honestly pretty much always skip the “dot with butter” step in most everything so I wanted to increase surface area to test this–went quite well and I shall be taking the effort more often. The liqueur was nearly unnoticable in the pudding and really didn’t do enough to salvage the sauce and is hard to find to boot…but that’s ok, as I don’t need a recipe to use the rest of it.

What I did like about this recipe: The top was very crisp, from both crunch of the bread and the nuts being on top, while the underlayer remained appealingly soft. It was so fragrant while baking, it’d be a siren song of a breakfast… It really is a pleasant dish, I’m just to lazy to appreciate the effort required, so I kinda feel ‘If I’ve made better easier puddings why bother?’ But if you don’t mind the puttering about, or the quantities of certain items go for it. It is reminecent of a restaurant dish…but then again so long as you use a good firm bread and let it dry out (be it staleness or popping in the oven at 200 after cubing), and give it time to soak up the custard you can recreate a restaurant bread pudding easily from many a recipe. Not having been to Primos and had theirs I don’t know if this lives up to its reputation or not, but I had higher expectations of it…

PS. I finally put the pic up. Sorry I was a repeat slacker on that.



cejaystine says:

Ok, I lied… I will type the recipe, when I get a chance, I have gotten more emails asking about it and I emailed Cooks Illustrated and got the thumbs up today. And have added links to their bookstore per the customer service manager’s request, so feel free to click above and get the book… it’s even half off. And there’s lots of other good stuff in there, plus a few more recipes I’ll be making later…which, more likely than not, I won’t be typing.



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