Cane Syrup-Pecan Bread Pudding with Espresso Creme Anglaise

Bread pudding has long been a staple dessert in South Louisiana simply because the cooks there are frugal and never waste anything. The[ pudding was usually made with day-old bread, milk, butter and eggs, but we've been experimenting and found that the addition of the cane syrup and pecans, both local ingredients, is fantastic. The rich, silky smooth creme anglaise kicked up with espresso is a perfect topping for the pudding.]

Total Time:
1 hr 21 min
20 min
1 min
1 hr

8 to 10 servings

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup, plus 4 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cane syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecan pieces, lightly toasted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 4 teaspoons minced orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 cups 1/2-inch cubed day-old white bread, crusts removed
  • Espresso Creme Anglaise, recipe below
  • Espresso Creme Anglaise:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with the butter and dust with 4 1/2 teaspoons of the sugar.

  • Whisk together the eggs, cream, brown sugar, remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, syrup, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the pecans, orange juice, zest, brandy, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and mix well. Add the bread cubes and let soak for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 8 hours.

  • Pour into the prepared pan, and bake until the pudding is set in the center and golden, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. To serve, cut into equal portions and top with the Espresso Creme Anglaise.

Espresso Creme Anglaise:
  • Bring the cream to a gentle boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat.

  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until slightly thickened and lemon-colored. Whisk 1/2 cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture. Whisk in the coffee powder, and cinnamon. In a slow, steady stream, gradually add the egg mixture to the pan of hot cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon and reaches 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Remove from the heat and strain into a clean bowl through a fine mesh strainer, pressing against the strainer with the back of a spoon. Add the brandy and vanilla, and stir to blend. Serve immediately. (If not serving immediately, press plastic wrap on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate.)

  • Yield: 3 cups

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