When I eat Bread Pudding Souffle, I always think of the Commander's saying, "If it ain't broke, fix it anyway." Bread pudding was already near perfection, but we combined Creole bread pudding with the light texture of a meringue and ended up with the restaurant's signature dessert, the single most sought-after dish in our family's restaurant history. The whiskey sauce itself is divine, but particularly so when generously poured over the piping hot souffle. Take it from me, this is no light dessert. Make the bread pudding and the sauce in advance, and make the meringue just before assembling and baking. Ti Martin, Restaurant Co-Owner
- Butter, for greasing pan and ramekins
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch nutmeg
- 3 medium eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 cups New Orleans French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (see *Cook's Note)
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 9 medium egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup sugar
*Cook's Note: New Orleans French bread is very light and tender. If another bread is used that is too dense, it will soak up all the custard and the recipe won't work.
Make the bread pudding: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs until smooth, and then work in the heavy cream. Add the vanilla, stir to combine, and then the bread cubes. Let stand so that bread soaks up custard.
Place the raisins in the greased pan. Top with the bread mixture, which prevents the raisins from burning. Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until the pudding has a golden brown color and is firm to the touch. If a toothpick inserted in the pudding comes out clean, it is done. The mixture should be moist, not runny or dry. Cool to room temperature.
Make the whiskey sauce: Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Whisk cornstarch and water together, and add to cream while whisking. Bring to a boil. Whisk and let simmer for a few seconds, taking care not to burn the mixture on the bottom. Remove from heat. Stir in the sugar and the bourbon. Taste to make sure the sauce has a thick consistency, a sufficiently sweet taste, and a good bourbon flavor. Cool to room temperature.
Make the meringue: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 6 (6-ounce) ramekins and set aside. Make certain that the bowl and whisk are completely clean. The egg whites should be completely free of yolk, and they will whip better if they are at room temperature. This dish needs a good, stiff meringue. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), whip egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add the sugar gradually, and continue whipping until shiny and thick. Test with a clean spoon. If the whites stand up stiff, like shaving cream when you pull out the spoon, the meringue is ready. Do not over-whip, or the whites will break down and the souffle will not work.
In a large bowl, break half of the bread pudding into pieces using your hands or a spoon. Gently fold in 1/4 of the meringue, being careful not to lose the air in the whites. Add a portion of this base to each of the ramekins. Place the remaining bread pudding in the bowl, break into pieces, and carefully fold in the rest of the meringue. Top off the souffles with this lighter mixture. Smooth and shape tops with a spoon into a dome over the ramekin rim.
Bake immediately for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately. Using a spoon, at the table, poke a hole in the top of each souffle, and pour the room temperature whiskey sauce inside the souffle.
* Professional Recipe
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe in the proportions indicated and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.