Cognac Caramel Bread Pudding

24 Feb

On my short list of things that aren’t wonderful about being single is — the baguette. I love bread, particularly well-made, artisan, crusty, fresh, warm, chewy baguettes. But a whole baguette goes to waste in a singleton household. Sure, some places sell half-sized or mini-baguettes. I guess this is one of those times when size matters, because those small loaves are pale imitations of the originals. They just don’t satisfy me . . . if you know what I mean.

Cognac Caramel Bread Pudding with Apples and Raisins

Cognac Caramel Bread Pudding with Apples and Raisins

So what to do with half a day-old baguette? Take a lesson from our thrifty, canny foremothers and make dessert! Bread pudding, if you’ve never had it, is a baked, custard-coated cubed-bread dish. Another neutral tableau in the world of cooking, bread puddings can be made as a sweet or a savoury with ingredients on hand in the pantry of fridge.

I had a hankering for caramel the day I found myself with left-over baguette. Pretty certain the craving came as a direct result of seeing the bag of left-over Halloween caramels. And what complements caramel better than apple and cinnamon? For a grown-up kick, I added Cognac for flavouring.

Apple, Cognac, caramels, bread cubes, cinnamon, eggs, raisins, cream & milk.

Apple, Cognac, caramels, bread cubes, cinnamon, eggs, raisins, cream & milk.

Ingredients:                                                                      Makes:  6 servings

  • 4 – 5 cups                       day-old baguette, cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 25                                    caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 cups                             milk, 1/2 & 1/2 or whipping cream or a mixture of these (depending on your cholesterol counts)
  • 1 tsp                                cinnamon
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp                       Cognac or brandy
  • 3                                      large eggs
  • 1                                       apple, cored and finely chopped (I used Red Delicious)
  • scant 1/3 cup                Thompson or Sultana raisins

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Set a full kettle of water on to boil.

Put caramels, cream, milk and cinnamon in medium saucepan

Put caramels, cream, milk and cinnamon in medium saucepan

2.    Place 25 caramels, milk and/or cream and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook stirring often until the caramels have melted.

Cook stirring until all caramels are melted and cream is heated to just below a boil. Stir in 1 - 2 Tbsp Cognac.

Cook stirring until all caramels melt and cream heats to just below a boil. Stir in 1 – 2 Tbsp Cognac.

Allow the mixture to heat just below a boil. Remove from heat, stir in 2 Tbsp of cognac and set aside.

3.     Meanwhile, grease a 2 L baking dish well with butter. In the baking dish, toss together the bread cubes, the diced apple and raisins.

Whisk eggs until frothy.

Whisk eggs until frothy.

4.     In a large bowl, whisk three large eggs together until foamy.

Slowly whisk cooked milk/melted caramels into beaten eggs.

Slowly whisk cooked milk/melted caramels into beaten eggs.

Very slowly, whisk the cooked caramel-milk/cream into the foamy eggs until well combined.

Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes in the baking dish.

5.     Use an egg lifter or large spoon to press the bread cubes gently into the liquid, ensuring a good soaking. I sprinkled more cinnamon on top, because I love the stuff.

Set baking dish into a 1.5" bath of boiling water.

Set baking dish into a 1.5″ bath of boiling water.

6.     Place the baking dish in the centre of a shallow roasting pan. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes 1.5″ up the side of the pudding dish.

7.     Slide the roasting pan into a 350 F oven on the middle rack. Bake, uncovered, for 40 – 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre of the pan comes out clean.

Creamy caramel custard and toasty bread cubes.

Creamy caramel custard and toasty bread cubes.

8.     Serve warm with whipped cream or table cream. It was also very tasty drizzled with more caramel sauce and topped with a scoop of ice cream.

Serve warm with cream.

Serve warm with cream.

Extra portions freeze well and re-heat easily in the microwave. The bread cubes will be softer instead of a little crispy as some are straight from the oven, but the custard warms and thickens well. It also makes a delicious (if decadent) breakfast!

Note:  I have also made bread pudding baked in the oven without the water bath. In those instances, I used milk and no cream. I don’t know if the water bath makes a crucial difference when using 1/2 & 1/2, whipping or coffee cream in the recipe. the results of both methods are delicious.

Cognac-Caramel Bread Pudding -- cosy winter warmth.

Cognac-Caramel Bread Pudding — cosy winter warmth.

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One Response to “Cognac Caramel Bread Pudding”

  1. Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy February 24, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Love the post…just nominated you for a couple of awards! Come and see…

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