Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

Whole grain bread

Whole grain bread

by Cat, Dec 2013 (photo, right, from University of Maryland (3)

See also related recipe on Eat Boutique (2): Blueberry Bread Pudding.

I’d never had bread pudding until I moved to Portland and frequented downtown restaurants. Hubers makes a wonderful Beer Bread that did not keep more than a day, so they made a very creamy bread pudding and served it with light cream. Zell’s made the more familiar cake-like bread pudding from leftover scones and bread, and served  it with a whiskey sauce.

Bread Pudding was a staple from the Great Depression era of the 1930s, which is probably why my parents never made it – they didn’t want me to know hard times.

This dessert is so easy to make and is a great way to use up stale bread before it goes bad. The basics are bread, butter, eggs, sugar, and milk or cream. If you add raisins or other dried fruit, be sure to plump them first in hot water or hot water and brandy or rum.

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

This recipe is adapted from The Irish Heritage Cookbook, by Margaret M. Johnson (1). Her recipe comes from the Cashel House Hotel in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland.

Most recipes call for white bread, but I prefer to use whole grain bread or even homemade whole grain sourdough bread. While raisins are typically used in bread pudding, other fruits can also be used, such as blueberries, apples, or dried apricots. If you use dried fruit, plump it in the same way as you would raisins (as in this recipe), but fresh fruit doesn’t need to be plumped.

Serve with Whiskey Sauce (recipe below), or with heavy cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.


  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup hot water
  • rum or brandy (optional)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 10 slices bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp powdered stevia extract plus 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or ¾ cup superfine sugar instead of stevia and syrup)
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 fresh eggs


  • Small saucepan
  • Small bowl
  • 8″ round or square baking or casserole dish of equal volume
  • larger baking dish


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter baking pan.
  2. Bring water to a boil in saucepan. Add a shot of brandy or rum, and pour over raisins in small bowl. Let soak for 10 minutes, until the raisins have plumped.
  3. Meanwhile, remove crusts from the bread, then butter the slices. Cut each in half, diagonally, or into 1″ cubes. Arrange half the bread in the baking pan, buttered side up.
  4. Drain the raisins and sprinkle over the bread. If you are using stevia, reserve about 1 tsp of the raisin soaking liquid and dissolve the stevia in it.
  5. Arrange remaining pieces of bread on top of the raisins.
  6. Whisk eggs in emptied bowl until just combined.
  7. Combine milk, cream, vanilla, sweetener (including soaked stevia) and spices in saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it just begins to boil, 5 to 7 minutes. If using a thermometer, heat to 185°F. Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs. Pour custard over bread and let soak 10 minutes, or longer in the refrigerator (but allow to come to room temperature before baking).
  8. Cover with foil and place pudding dish in larger baking pan. Add hot water to the baking pan to reach ⅔ up the sides of the pudding dish. Bake in preheated oven until custard is set, 50 – 55 minutes. Let cool in baking pan before removing the pudding dish.

Whiskey Sauce

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp Rapadura sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp Irish (or other) whiskey
  • small saucepan
  • small bowl
  • whisk
  1. Heat milk in saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil (not a rolling boil). Remove from heat.
  2. Whisk sugar and yolks in small bowl until light and fluffy. Whisk a bit of the hot milk into the yolks, then whisk this mixture into remaining hot milk in saucepan. Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in whiskey.
  4. Spoon warm sauce over individual servings of pudding in dessert bowl or on small plate.


  1. The Irish Heritage Cookbook, by Margaret M. Johnson
  2. Eat Boutique recipe:
  3. University of Maryland photo:

About Cat

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