Happy weekend to you! It was certainly an interesting week this past week. I turned another year older, Steve Jobs passed away and hubby had his annual oncology checkup and all is well. WIth those three events, perhaps, some things about life were put in to clearer perspective.
Mr. Bunkycooks and I both jumped out of bed yesterday morning and threw on our exercise gear and headed for the workout room. Yes, it was a commitment to get back in shape after the big birthday for me. However, as Mr. B said, if Steve Jobs could accomplish what he did with his health issues over the past eight years, then he was motivated to do the same.
As you may know, Mr. B has been through cancer twice and we have both had our share of surgeries and other health issues. Sometimes, it can get the best of you and may even get in the way of achieving your dreams, so it’s always good to be reminded that life is short and that you need to jump in and enjoy it while you can, regardless of what appears to be limitations.
So, on that note, I think it’s time to get to weekend chatter and more uplifting matters! Last weekend was very special for us. Friends from Charleston came to visit us in the mountains to fish the local rivers and enjoy the beautiful weather (although the fishing left mostly empty lines, the weather was magnificent).
I also had the opportunity to get in the kitchen to make one of my favorite Fall dishes, Boeuf Bourguignon, and create a Bourbon Bread Pudding that was inspired by a recipe from Bon Appétit. You can make this decadent dessert and enjoy it from time to time, but I would not suggest making this too frequently. It could be addictive and would totally destroy any hopes of getting back in shape!
I took this photo of raisins soaking in Woodford Reserve bourbon with my iPhone. This recipe was most definitely inspired by our culinary event in Kentucky and our trips to the Woodford Reserve distillery. Bourbon is not just for sipping or for making Mint Juleps. It goes incredibly well when paired with foods. Bourbons, like Woodford Reserve, provide a complex flavor profile that layers in flavors to enhance many dishes, especially desserts.
I used a pullman brioche loaf of bread for this recipe. It made it very rich and the bit of sweetness in the bread was perfect with the bourbon and the raisins. The dessert was pushed to another level of decadence when topped with vanilla ice cream and homemade caramel sauce. Our guests loved this creation. Empty plates speak volumes.
This will be a favorite of ours to make around the holidays , especially since it can be prepared a few hours ahead of time and then covered and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it. Your guests will love it, too.
Enjoy the recipe and your weekend!
Bourbon Bread Pudding with Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce
Yield: 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
This rich and elegant dessert can be made ahead of time and refrigerated before baking. If you use a softer brioche (I used a pullman brioche loaf), you may only need a 1 pound loaf. The pullman loaf has very heavy crusts that are removed before cutting into 1/2 inch pieces.
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve)
1.9 pound brioche or egg bread loaf, crusts trimmed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used a pullman brioche loaf) * See note above
8 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Place raisins in a small bowl. Pour bourbon over the raisins, stirring occasionally to be sure they are all thoroughly soaked in the bourbon. Soak at least one hour and longer, if possible.
2. Once raisins have soaked, place bread cubes in 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan and sprinkle raisins over the top of the bread cubes. Whisk eggs, whipping cream, milk, sugar, bourbon and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Pour over bread cubes and raisins. Let stand 30 minutes, occasionally pressing bread into custard mixture. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake until pudding is set in center, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly.
4. Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.