New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Let's just set the record straight: I LOVE DESSERT.  Ok, feels good to get that out there.  Many people ask (so kindly) what my favorite dessert is.  After much thought and contemplation, I've decided that my absolute favorite dessert is bread pudding.  It's warm, it's gooey, it's creamy... what's not to love?  But unfortunately, bread pudding isn't exactly what we would call a "healthy" dessert.  So guess what?  I found a recipe that lightens this butter and cream heavy dish up a bit!  Now don't get me wrong, I still wouldn't call this a "healthy" dish either, just healthiER.  I found this recipe on www.cookinglight.com.  The reduced fat milk in place of cream and no butter (except in the sauce- which can be omitted to make this even lower in calories) make this a decent little dessert!

New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Ingredients:

PUDDING:

  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 1/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed French bread (about 8 ounces)
  • Cooking spray

SAUCE:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup bourbon

Directions:

  1. To prepare pudding, combine raisins and 2 tablespoons bourbon in a bowl. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain mixture in a sieve over a bowl, reserving liquid.

  2. Combine reserved liquid, milk, and next 6 ingredients (milk through eggs) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add bread, tossing gently to coat. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with raisins, pressing gently into bread mixture. Cover with foil; chill 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

  3. Preheat oven to 350°.

  4. Place dish in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake, covered, at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

  5. To prepare sauce, combine 1/2 cup sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 cup bourbon. Serve each bread pudding piece warm with about 1 tablespoon sauce.