Irish Bread Pudding

During Holidays, and especially Christmas, I like to do things like plan a good steelhead fishing trip, listen to some good Christmas music on the radio, drive around and look at lights, all that stuff.  I also like to eat.  There’s nothing I like more than satisfying my family with good eats.  Sure, I like to spend time with my immediate family, but I especially like to do things for them.  It’s just my nature.

My favorite pièce de résistance is Irish Bread Pudding.  Everyone lights up when they hear I’m making it, and I enjoy making it.  They especially light up when they dig into that first bite.  Now here is my recipe, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do:

Irish Bread Pudding

2 French bread baguette (I use this recipe, but feel free to use baguettes made at your local bakery), cut into 1 inch thick slices
1/2 c raisins
1/4 c Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 3/4 c 2% milk
1 3/4 c heavy cream
1 c sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

topping:
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Brush melted butter on one side of French bread slices, place on baking sheet butter side up, baking at 350 for 10 min or until lightly toasted.  Cut into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside.  Combine raisins and whiskey in a small bowl; cover and let stand 10 minutes or until soft (do not drain).  It is important to cover the whiskey and not let it stand for more than 10 minutes or you’ll lose the flavor, as alcohol evaporates.  While you’re at it pour a shot for yourself and enjoy it as you go.

Combine milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and eggs; mix well with a whisk until smooth.  Add the bread cubes and raisin mixture, pressing gently to moisten; let stand 15 minutes.  Spoon bread mixture into a 13×9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon topping and sprinkle over your pudding.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until set.  I like to cook it until there is a nice crust on top–it shouldn’t be a moist crust, but rather firm.  Serve warm and top with Custard Sauce:

Custard Sauce:

1/2 c heavy cream
1 c 2% milk
5 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
3 T Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 tsp good vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, combine the cream and milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat, but do not let the milk boil (this will prevent the milk from separating).  In a large bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together until smooth.  Gradually whisk the hot milk into the yolks.  Return to the pan and stir constantly over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon, but make sure the custard does not boil.  Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the whiskey and vanilla.  Serve.