Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding with Brown Sugar Bourbon Sauce, entirely gluten-free. It's breakfast-meets-dessert in the best possible way. This bread pudding would be equally good with vanilla ice cream at 7PM or a platter of Oven Baked Bacon in the morning.
And the sauce. THE SAUCE, you guys. I'd just about put that Brown Sugar Bourbon Sauce on a 2x4 and eat it.
As far as I am concerned, this is the best way to eat raisin bread. Except for the Raisin Grower's Sandwich at The Vineyard, which is sadly not gluten-free. (There's a bunch of delicious GF stuff there. Just not the sandwich, which is a toasted ham & Swiss & American on raisin bread.) So I'm only remembering the sandwich from my pre-gluten-free childhood.
I am, as you may know, slightly picky about raisins because I grew up in a family that grows them. On that note, I will tell you with certainty that vine-dried raisins are significantly better than their ground-dried counterparts. So, I only like them in certain recipes, and I don't want them overcooked, and I don't like them when they are too old, and... I bet I was a pain-in-the-ass as a kid.
So - when I tell you this is my favorite way to eat raisin bread, understand that it comes with a years-of-experience endorsement.
I like the bread pudding topped with a bit of the sauce, with a cup of coffee or black tea. You can also top it with some fresh whipped cream, or a sugared vanilla bean. Don't be afraid to make it from company. It's really delicious.
About the Bread:
I usually pick up the Canyon Bakehouse or Trader Joe's gluten-free raisin bread, because that's what I can find. Sometimes I bake two loaves from scratch (one for eating, one for bread pudding!) I also pick it up at gluten-free bakeries when I can find it. Use whatever works for you, as long as it is a soft bread. (Read: not Udi's.)
You can make this with plain sandwich bread instead of raisin bread too. Just double the cinnamon and add a few more raisins if you'd like.
About the Brown Sugar Bourbon Sauce:
Yes, the sauce is optional, but I don't think you should skip it! It really makes the dish. If you don't want to use bourbon because of alcohol issues or you don;t like the taste, reduce the brown sugar to ⅓ cup and swap the bourbon for orange juice. If you're worried about gluten in bourbon - don't. Distilled spirits are gluten-free.
OK, get baking! If you love bread pudding, you should try this Overnight Lemon-Glazed French Toast Bake too. If you're a cinnamon bread fan, check out this vegan Cinnamon Swirl Bread - you can even add raisins!
Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding with Brown Sugar Bourbon Sauce
For the (optional) sauce:
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup 1 stick butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla bean paste or extract
- ¼ cup bourbon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch round or 8×8 pan and fill with the cubed bread and raisins.
- Whisk together 1 ½ cups of the brown sugar, eggs, and milk in a bowl; add vanilla & cinnamon. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
- In another bowl, combine the remaining brown sugar, butter, and pecans. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.
For the sauce:
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until mixture is blended and smooth. Pour a small amount over each serving of the bread pudding.
Photos by Alycia Moreno
Raisins, eggs, pecans, bourbon - sharing this recipe might be the nicest thing I've ever done.
Let's just have dessert now.