Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Pudding with Butter-Rum Sauce

bread puddingAt the recent boudin bash we had at Cathy’s house, I also contributed a cinnamon-raisin bread pudding with a butter-rum sauce to the festivities along with the jambalaya. Now, mind you … bread pudding is something I have long loathed (that texture thing I have), until I happened upon this particular combination. Everyone who has tasted it has loved it and I can now count myself among the devotees.

The secret is using cinnamon-raisin bread rather than bread with raisins thrown in. I like Trader Joe’s cinnamon-raisin bread (well, of course I do), but you can use Pepperidge Farm if that is the only option you have. Don’t skip the chilling of the mixture, otherwise your texture will be greatly compromised.

You can, of course, skip the butter-rum sauce and serve the bread pudding with plain whipped cream instead, but really … why would you?

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Pudding

1 loaf Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Raisin bread (Note: this is different than Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Roll bread, although I have to admit I’m intrigued to use that someday and see what happens. Also, if you use Pepperidge Farm brand, you will have to use 1-1/2 loaves as the loaf weight between the brands differs.)
4 large organic eggs
1-1/2 cups organic whole milk
2/3 cup organic maple syrup
1/2 cup organic heavy cream
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Make sure the oven rack is in the center position. Spray a 10-inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Cut the bread into 1” cubes and place in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, maple syrup, heavy cream, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until well-combined. Pour egg mixture over bread; stir well until all the bread is saturated. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Scrape the mixture into the casserole dish and smooth the top. Bake, uncovered, for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan until just slightly warm before serving.

Butter-Rum Sauce

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) organic unsalted butter
1/2 cup organic heavy cream
2 tablespoons dark rum (Meyer’s Original Dark Rum is my favorite)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a heavy medium saucepan, heat the light brown sugar and the butter together over medium heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add the cream, rum, and cinnamon; lower the heat to medium-low and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and is reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 5 minutes. Serve warm over bread pudding.

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