Another Bread Pudding

The last bread pudding I made might as well have been called "Clean Out Your Kitchen Bread Pudding".  I had leftover rolls, leftover buttermilk, leftover infused vodka...  This bread pudding is again born out of leftover stale bread, but I think that's the exact reason bread pudding was invented.  I had a whole baguette and hated to waste it...  I considered making croutons (especially since this post just appeared on Liz's blog!), I also considered making bread crumbs (difficult without a blender or food processor), but I had all the ingredients for bread pudding, and that's the direction I went!
I found a fairly simple recipe online for my whole stale baguette!  But my bread was ready to make bread pudding with a whole week before Patti and the boys would be in town.  I googled a little bit about preparing bread pudding beforehand and freezing before cooking or after cooking.  I was skeptical of the results I found, mostly Q/A forums, but decided to give it a shot anyways.  I prepared the pudding itself (not the sauce) up until the baking step, then covered everything in foil and put it in the freezer.  I took it out of the freezer on Thursday, to thaw in the fridge overnight, and ready to bake at my parents place on Friday (and make their kitchen smell like cinnamon, yum!).  Plans changed around a little, and I ended up baking it Sunday morning (to go along with a brunch theme).

Results:  Pretty darn good!  I froze the whole thing, unbaked, for several days, and switched it into the fridge Thursday evening.  Like I said, I ended up bringing it over to my parents Sunday morning instead.  I stirred the whole thing around a little, but didn't do much else before popping it into the oven.  I made the sauce when the bread pudding came out of the oven, and warm sauce over warm bread pudding was so amazing.  I let everyone try a little, then had requests from people to have their own portion, so success!  Without further ado, here's the recipe!  Along with some cute pictures of Cole, Wes, and Grace (Joe and Grace came over for brunch!).
Ingredients for the bread pudding:
-1 loaf french bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6-7 cups)
-1 quart milk (I used skim, so I'd assume you could use any milk you want!)
-3 eggs, lightly beaten
-2 cups sugar
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1 cup raisins, soaked overnight in 1/4 cup bourbon (I forgot to do this, but they were perfect)
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for sauce:
-1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
-1 cup sugar
-1 egg
-1 cup bourbon or whiskey (I used Jack Daniels)

Preheat your oven to 350 if you intend to bake this immediately.  Cut up your bread!
Mix pretty much everything else up in a huge bowl- milk, beaten eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon.  I accidentally added the melted butter to this, but it was supposed to be added later, so just hold off for a little!  Whatever, it turned out fine.
Stir it all up together, then add your bread.
Stir everything up and make sure all your bread is coated with the mixture!
Now is when you're supposed to add the melted butter to your 9x13 pan and coat the bottom and sides with it.  Pour the bread mixture into your pan!
I then sprinkled the raisins over everything.  I figured then the raisins would be uniformly mixed instead of all along the bottom.  I did a few mixes to get a couple down lower into the pudding itself, but didn't worry too much.  Especially since this was all being popped into the freezer now!
The whole pan froze and unfroze well.  I was worried about the egg and milk, but there weren't any issues!  So a day or two before you're serving it, switch it into the fridge to thaw.

When thawed (or right after mixing everything up), bake for 35-45 minutes, or until it looks set!
This looked perfect!  The center was still a little milky (I think also because I used skim milk, not whole milk or cream), but after resting for a bit while I made the sauce, everything was perfect!

So now time to make the sauce!  Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  When just completely melted, add the sugar and egg and whisk quickly so that the egg doesn't curdle or cook.  Continue to stir quickly until uniform and warmed.  Add the cup of whiskey and continue stirring over medium heat.  The original recipe had you add this and not heat it up, but that seemed like a lot of alcohol to not let some cook off...  So I heated everything and continually stirred over medium heat for another 5 minutes.  The sauce thickened up a bit and it wasn't so much of a strong alcohol taste this way.

Get your portion ready of the bread pudding!
So delicious.  At this point, it's practically a french toast bake.
Then drizzle some of the warm sauce over your piece.
Warm bread pudding, warm sauce, plump raisins...  Perfect brunch dessert!
Or any time dessert actually.  Let's be real.  I will declare freezing bread pudding a success, and I'm glad everything worked out!  Good thing my family is willing to be a guinea pig for stuff like this :-)
And now the promised pictures of nephews and little cousins!
 Adorable little ones :-)  I hope you make and enjoy the bread pudding soon!

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