Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: New Orleans Bread Pudding Souffle with Bourbon Sauce

I took a New Orleans cooking class about six months or so ago at the Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg, and learned a bunch of great New Orleans brunch recipes. I've already made the eggs sardou and beignets at home for my husband (as well as the NOLA creole bloody mary), but last weekend, I finally got around to making the Commander's Palace bread pudding souffle with bourbon sauce, from one of the garden district's famous local brunch spots. The dish is a bit time intensive to make as it has to be made in several stages.  Instead of making a bunch of individual sized bread pudding souffles, I used my large souffle dish to make one giant souffle to share.  It's quite large, so there was certainly a lot of sharing to be done!

Commander's Palace New Orleans Bread Pudding Souffle
Bread pudding
3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
 1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
5 cups day old french bread or italian bread cut into cubes
1/3 cup raisons
2 T butter

Whiskey sauce
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
 2 tsp cornstarch
2 T cold water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup bourbon

9 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar

First make the bread pudding.  Preheat the oven to 350 and combine the sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl.  Beat in the eggs until smooth and work in the heavy cream.  Add the vanilla and then the bread cubes.  Allow the bread to soak up the custard.  Scatter the raisons in a greased square baking pan and top with the mixture.  Cut the butter into small pieces and scatter on top.  Bake 25-30 minutes until golden and firm when a toothpick comes out clean.  It should be moist, not runny or dry.  Let cool to room temperature.

Make the sauce while the pudding is baking.  Bring the cream to a boil.  Combine the cornstarch and water and add to the boiling cream, stirring.  Reduce heat and cook thirty seconds before adding the bourbon and the sugar and stirring.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350 again and butter six 6 oz ceramic ramekins, or in my case, one large souffle dish.  To make the meringue, put the egg whites in the basin of your mixer and whip with the cream of tartar until frothy.  Gradually add the sugar while whipping on the highest setting and continue whipping until a shiny meringue is formed, and the whites are stiff and stand up.  Break half of the bread pudding into smaller pieces and fold into a quarter of the meringue and put this mixture in each of the ramekins.

Process the remaining bread pudding in the blender until smooth.  I had to do this by hand instead, so it wasn't quite smooth, as my blender decided to die at an in-opportune time.  So my souffle is a bit of a chunkier bread pudding souffle, but it still tasted fantastic.  Fold this mixture into the remaining meringue and top the souffle(s) with the mixture.  Bake the souffles for 20 minutes.  Since mine was one large souffle, it took about 30 minutes instead.  Serve immediately topped with the whiskey sauce.

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