|Creole Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce|
Ella Brennan, at center, seated with family. (courtesy Commander’s Palace)… Brennan has made her mark with a series of fresh and innovative concepts: She pioneered the notion of nouvelle Creole cuisine. She elevated the profile of Louisiana cooking throughout the world. She forged a level of service that was the match of any anywhere. And she used her kitchen at Commander’s Palace as a kind of de facto New Orleans culinary academy, turning out dozens of the city’s finest chefs and thereby enlivening the local food scene beyond measure. (courtesy Elizabeth Mullener, Times-Picayune.)
|Order a copy of The Commander’s Palace New Orleans Cookbook here.|
Famed food (editor, writer and) restaurant critic Ruth Reichl commented that her first visit to Commander’s Palace combined “upscale fun” with “the most extraordinary service [she]’d ever had in an American restaurant,” service which she credited to Brennan’s exacting standards. (courtesy Encyclopedia of Louisiana)
Read all about The Commander’s Palace or make a reservation. 25 cent Martinis if you go!
More info: read a short biography of Ella Brennan here
Want to try one of the most famous recipes? Since Ella herself didn’t cook much I thought I’d make one of the cornerstones of the Brennan empire– bread pudding Here it is: (Note: Have salad for supper; this is Decadent with a Capital D and worth every calorie.)
|Invite friends. What fun! This makes a huge pan of bread pudding.|
Creole Bread Pudding is the most soul-satisfying taste of all. But do it right.
One day, while my mother [Ella Brennan] and I were nibbling on some bread
pudding, I watched her eyebrow go up as she discovered a morsel of dry bread.
I hadn’t soaked thoroughly, a cardinal sin. When pastry chef Tom Robey
walked by, Mom pointed to the dry morsel. She didn’t have to say a word.
Tom shook his head and went off to explain to a protégé how we don’t
rush things at Commander’s. Originally created as a way to utilize day-
old bread, this dessert, along with pecan pie and crème caramel, is a must
for any New Orleans restaurant.”
12 medium eggs, beaten
3 cups heavy cream (I used half and half since my arteries were yelling, HELLO?)
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (use
a high-quality extract, not an imitation)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
*4 ounces day-old French bread, sliced 1 inch thick (I used a lot more bread; see note.)
1 cup raisins
–Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
–Butter a large (11 x 8 1/2 x 3 inches) casserole dish and set aside. (Once in the oven, the casserole will sit inside a large pan. A roasting pan would be good.) Mix the eggs, cream and vanilla in a large bowl, and combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a separate bowl. This helps to evenly dis- tribute the spices. Add the sugar mixture to the egg mixture, and combine thoroughly.
–Place the raisins in the bottom of the buttered casserole, and add the bread slices in a single layer. Gently pour the custard over the bread, making certain that all the bread thoroughly soaks up the custard. [We let ours stand for a while before baking.] (Turn the bread over in the custard to make sure each piece is well-coated.)
–Cover the casserole with foil, place in a large dish (the roasting pan, if that’s what you decided to use) partly filled with hot water, and bake for 2 1/2 hours. Remove the foil, and increase the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour more, or until the pudding is golden brown and slightly firm. Use a spoon to make sure the custard is fully cooked; it should be moist but no longer runny. If you’re unsure whether it’s done, remove it from the oven and let it cool while it remains sitting in the water bath; the carryover effect will keep it cooking.
–Serve slightly warm with whiskey sauce, recipe below (made ahead.)
- 1 cup(s) heavy cream
- 1/2 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon(s) water
- 3 tablespoon(s) sugar
- 1/4 cup(s) bourbon
Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden, Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette – Healthy Living
Mary – One Perfect Bite, Kathleen – Bake Away with Me, Sue – The View from Great Island Barbara – Movable Feasts , Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo
Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen
Annie – Most Lovely Things, Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table, Amrita – Beetles Kitchen Escapades
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Sing a new song and make some bread pudding–Two-Dog Kitchen returns next post,