Vanilla-Bourbon Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce

Vanilla-Bourbon Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce

I don’t make bread pudding often, but it used to be part of my daily routine. When I worked as a chef, bread pudding was a very popular item on the menu, and I was tasked with preparing it.  There are endless variations of this classic dessert, and I have had some great ones over the years. A decadent chocolate one can be fabulous around the winter holidays.  But this recipe I developed because I wanted a simpler one, with nice vanilla flavor.  I also love caramel, so I had to add that as well.  I top this bread pudding with a delicious caramel sauce, which allows me to control the sweetness factor a bit more.

The trick to all of my bread pudding recipes is the bread: challah (or a great brioche) bread makes the best bread pudding.  Trust me, no matter what you read, don’t use French bread. Usually I like to bake my bread pudding directly in the ramekins themselves, but not with this recipe.  I bake this one in a simple baking pan.  To serve, I scoop it into individual ramekins and top with the caramel sauce and whipped cream—for an admittedly uber-indulgent treat.  This is an easy, make-ahead dessert that works well with guests and never disappoints. You can serve it warm or chilled depending on your preference, both are delightful.

Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce

April 21, 2018
: 8
: 1 hr 25 min
: 55 min
: 2 hr 20 min
: easy


  • For the Bread Pudding:
  • 1 (1-pound) challah, bread cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise and beans scrapped
  • For the Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Step 1 For the Bread Pudding: Place the cubed challah in a lightly greased 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch square baking pan.
  • Step 2 In a large mixing bowl add the sugar, eggs and eggs yolks, whisk well till pale yellow in color.
  • Step 3 Add the milk, cream, vanilla extract, almond extract, bourbon and whole vanilla bean scraped (seeds only). Whisk well to incorporate.
  • Step 4 Pour the custard mixture onto the challah. Using a rubber spatula, gently press down to incorporate the custard into the challah. Plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to soak.
  • Step 5 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the baking pan on a baking sheet and place in the middle of the oven.
  • Step 6 Bake for about 45 minutes or until set in the middle. Cool slightly before serving in individual ramekins or on dessert plates and topping with caramel sauce.
  • Step 7 For the Caramel Sauce: Put the brown sugar, heavy cream, butter and salt into a medium size sauce pan over low heat. Cook while whisking for about 6-7 minutes or until it begins to thicken.
  • Step 8 Add the vanilla extract and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  • Step 9 Refrigerate caramel sauce till needed, warm on low in microwave if needed.

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