Bread and Butter Pudding With Hot Whiskey Sauce

Pudding 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup Irish whiskey5 large eggs2 cups heavy (whipping) cream1 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg1 teaspoon vanilla extract8 ounces (8 to 9 slices) firm white bread, crust left on4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperatureHot whiskey sauce 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces1 cup sugar6 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream 1/4 cup Irish whiskeyTo make the pudding: In a small bowl, combine the raisins and whiskey and let soak for 1 hour. Butter a 9-inch square nonreactive baking dish.In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Cut the slices in half diagonally and arrange half the bread in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping the slices. Drain the raisins and sprinkle half over the bread. Repeat with the remaining bread and raisins. Pour the egg-cream custard mixture over the bread and let it soak for 30 minutes.Heat the oven to 400 degrees.Place the baking dish in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until the pudding is set and the top is golden. Remove the baking dish from the water bath and let cool slightly on a wire rack.For the sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the sugar, cream and whiskey. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Serve the pudding warm with the whiskey sauce spooned over each portion.Serves six to eight; about 1 cup of sauce."The Irish Pub Cookbook" by Margaret M. Johnson (2006 Chronicle Books, $24.95)

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