Bread pudding has been around since the 11th century. The first time I had Bread Pudding Soufflé was at the famous Commanders Palace in New Orleans. Known for its fine dining and exquisite cuisine, the Commander’s bread pudding soufflé is still number one on their dessert menu! During these sequestered days, people are baking bread to stay busy. Myself included. Any leftover or stale bread in the house? I forgot I left an extra loaf in the bar frig. It was solid as a rock. I started sawing the bread into small cubes! It’s a good way to re-purpose egg bread like brioche, challah or Finnish pulla. You can also use sour dough, Italian, French breads or stale croissants. I would file this under COMFORT FOOD!
Unsalted butter, for pan and ramekins
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
3 large free range whole eggs
1 cup whole milk ( 3% – 15% )
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 cups day-old white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
Meringue: 6 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
Whiskey – custard Sauce, (recipe below)
STEP 1 Bread Pudding
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan; set aside. Combine 1/4 cup sugar, the cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Beat in whole eggs until smooth; whisk in milk and vanilla extract. Add bread cubes; stir, allowing bread to soak up custard. Bake until pudding is golden and firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. It should be moist, not runny or dry. Cool to room temperature.
You now have made “bread pudding.”
You can stop here and not make the meringue for the Soufflé portion. I suggest you still making the custard sauce with or without the famous Commander’s bourbon – whiskey. The sauce makes the bread pudding.
STEP 2 Meringue
Butter six 6-ounce ceramic ramekins; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk 6 egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Slowly add sugar. Continue whisking until shiny and thick. Test with a clean spoon. If whites stand up, like shaving cream, when you pull out the spoon, meringue is ready.
NOTE: Do not over whip, or whites will break down and souffle will not work.
STEP 3 Meringue and Sauce
In a large bowl, separate the bread pudding into the original pieces as best as you can. Gently fold in a quarter of the meringue, being careful not to lose the air in the whites. Divide a portion of this mixture among the ramekins. Top off souffles with the rest of the meringue, piling it as high as you can on each ramekin. Bake immediately until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve right away (the meringue will start to deflate).
TOPPING: Using a spoon or knife, poke a hole in the top of each soufflé and spoon the whiskey – custard sauce into the top of the each individual soufflé.
WHISKEY SAUCE CUSTARD
1/2 cups (600 ml.) whole milk
4 large free-range egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 vanilla pod ( or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract )
1/4 cup bourbon -whiskey
1. Pour milk and vanilla extract into a pot and bring just to the boil.
2. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and flour until pale.
Gradually add the warm milk to the egg mixture. Whisk well to prevent clumping.
Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook gently on a low heat for about 20 minutes -or- until thick. Add the whiskey. Adjust to taste. Whisk continuously.
Taste to make sure the sauce is sufficiently sweet. Pour into the center opening of each soufflé.
Sweet or savory! There are all kinds of variations for this soufflé. I sometimes add diced pineapple and blueberries. You may want cheese for a savory edge! How about eggnog soufflé? Sounds delicious! You can get very creative! Sometimes I add whatever I have on hand to empty out the frig. If you don’t have enough stale bread, add various fruit right n the ramekins with your cubed bread for the final bake. Chocolate chips sound good too.
When I attended the Cookin Cajun Cooking School at Riverwalk in New Orleans, the chef said, “You could add anything to your bread pudding soufflé : raisins, currents, even smarties.” Get creative with this recipe,. Use up ingredients hiding in your cupboards and frig at home. Kids love smarties. Your kids can even help in doctoring up their own ramekin, before they go in the oven.
BREAD – the Staff of Life. Along with your carbs you will get micro nutrients including thiamin, selenium, and folate from bread.
We really wanted to bring you a trending dessert that is gaining popularity. The cinnamon and nutmeg is fantastic! I serve this warm dessert with the whiskey custard along with a shot of whiskey on the side. Memories of New Orleans! Bread Pudding Soufflé is still the number one asked for dessert at The Commander’s Palace.
ASIDE: Commander’s Palace had so many egg whites left over from their Hollandaise sauce that it gave birth to their famous “Bread Pudding Soufflé“. Simply Splendid resolved the “extra” egg yolks issue by making a custard sauce topping.
KID FRIENDLY with plain custard! This does not freeze well. Keep in the frig for 2-3 days. A great snack or morning breakfast with coffee. Kids like it too with light cream or milk. Save the booze for mom and dad!