As a quick scroll through this Pinterest page shows, there's a huge variety of bread puddings in the world. This version, which comes to us courtesy of Liberty’s Kitchen, is definitely of the more traditional New Orleans type. As food writer Meryl Rosofsky notes, by using day-old bread in something so singularly delicious, bread pudding is "the perfect embodiment of the twin Creole virtues of frugality and indulgence".
Makes 1 “half-pan” (10”x12” and 2” deep)
Ingredients for Bread Pudding
1 quart granulated sugar
1 quart half and half
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2.5 loaves (30” each) day-old French bread – we use Leidenheimer’s
Steps for Bread Pudding
1. Combine all ingredients (except bread) in large mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly.
2. Cut French bread into 1”x1”cubes and place in a 2.5-3 gallon container or pot. 3. Pour the mixture (from step 1) over the cubed bread and mix gently with a long spoon or rubber spatula until bread has absorbed most of the mixture.
4. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (it can remain in the refrigerator for several days, if needed).
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
6. Spray an aluminum “half-pan” (dimensions at top of page) with a non-stick spray and place a piece of 17”x14” parchment paper inside the pan so that the paper adheres to the pan.
7. Spray the parchment paper to prevent the Bread Pudding from sticking to it.
8. Pour the soaked bread into the pan and press it down so the top is flat.
9. Cover the pan with parchment paper, then cover the parchment paper with foil and crimp the edges of the foil so it holds to the pan. Place pan with bread pudding into another aluminum half pan or place the pan with bread pudding in a larger deep pan with 1 ½ inches of water, so that water reaches half way up the pan. This will prevent the sides and bottom of bread pudding from burning.
10. Place in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
11. Remove and uncover, then continue to bake an additional 20 minutes until the top is light-to-medium brown.
12. Remove Bread Pudding from oven.
Ingredients for Rum Sauce
½ lb. light brown sugar
¼ lb. (or 8 Tbsp.) chilled butter- cubed
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
½ cup rum
¼ cup cream
Steps for Rum Sauce (thermometer recommended)
1. Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon, and salt into a medium-sized pot (sugar will expand to more than twice its volume when it boils).
2. Add just enough water to the pot to wet the brown sugar.
3. Place the pot on the stove with the flame/heat on high.
4. Stir ingredients in the pot with a long-handled wooden spoon just until all components are homogenized.
5. Boil rapidly until it reaches 240 degrees F (should only take a few minutes).
6. Turn flame/heat to low and slowly stir in chilled, cubed butter.
7. Once the butter is melted, turn flame/heat back to high.
8. When you reach a boil, pour in rum (CAUTION: RUM IS FLAMMABLE).
9. Continue to boil another 2 minutes. Rum should ignite… let it burn itself out.
10. After rum has burned off, add cream (this will reduce the heat).
11. Once the sauce comes back to a boil, remove the pot and pour Rum Sauce over the hot Bread Pudding.
At Liberty’s Kitchen, food service-based businesses serve as a training vehicle for New Orleans’ disadvantaged youth facing challenges for a productive life. The Youth Development Program provides participants ages 16-24 with both occupational and employability skills training. We also address the social issues that have created barriers to their employment - poverty, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, arrested educational development and/or participation in the judicial system. We have sought young people who desperately need a way to escape their downwardly spiraling situations, but who also demonstrate positive traits, such as leadership or willingness to change, that could help them progress in our rigorous program. Our objective is to graduate students with a sense of purpose and confidence and the skills, tools and opportunities to thrive in gainful employment.