Anthony Aristar (Eastern Michigan University)
This bread pudding is incredibly rich. And it also may be the best bread pudding on Earth... This was an attempt on my part to recreate a recipe I loved as a child. I think I actually like it better.
The pudding can be made a day ahead, and is often better when it is. The sauce should be made an hour or two before
it's used, since it tends to separate and the sugar to recrystallize over time.
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 12-oz or 14-oz loaf day-old French bread or white Italian bread
2 cups sugar
1 qt heavy cream
1 cup seedless raisins
2 tbsp orange extract
1 tbsp vanilla
4 oz walnuts, broken into small pieces
1 package (7 oz) condensed mincemeat
For The Sauce:
8 table spoons butter (1/4 pound) cut into 1/2 inch bits
1 cup sugar
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup bourbon
NB: Do not use fresh mincemeat: it will make the pudding too wet).
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the softened butter evenly over the bottom and sides of a soufflé dish. Set dish aside.
Break bread into chunks, put into bowl, and pour cream over. When the bread is softened, crumble into small bits and leave until all cream is absorbed.
Beat 3 eggs and 2 cups of sugar together until smooth and thick. Stir in raisins, walnuts, orange extract and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Crumble the condensed mincemeat into small bits and drop into mixture. Fold together.
Pour bread pudding into buttered dish, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Place dish in shallow roasting pan, and pour boiling water into pan to depth of 1 inch.
Bake for 75 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Make the Sauce:
Melt the butter. Stir 1 cup of sugar, whole egg and egg yolk into a small bowl, and mix thoroughly. Add the mixture to the butter.
The safest method for making the sauce is in the microwave:
Heat the mixture at full power, stirring every 30-40 seconds until the sugar dissolves completely and the egg is cooked. Be careful towards the end of the process: the mixture will swell up and overflow the container if one isn't keeping a watchful eye.
If you don't have a microwave use a double boiler:
Stir for 2-3 minutes, until the sugar dissolves completely and the egg is cooked, but don't let the sauce come anywhere near boiling or the egg will curdle.
Let the sauce cool to room temperature before stirring in the bourbon.