Here is the other bread pudding I made to compete with the Boffo Brown Bread Pudding recipe I posted last week. Yes, I made two batches of bread pudding in one day, and no, 2011 hasn't been off to a healthy start here in the Porter house. What can I say? I'm no good. I’m terrible news, a bad influence, and possibly everything that your nutritionists, cardiologists, and mothers warn you about.
But I just couldn't resist. I mean, who doesn’t love bread pudding? It is warm, comforting, inexpensive, and incredibly easy to prepare. It also makes for a great last-minute or make-ahead brunch or dessert dish, as you can have the ingredients prepped in no time and either throw it together and pop it right into the oven, or let it sit in the refrigerator overnight and bake it off in the morning.
When I developed this recipe, I knew I wanted "bread pudding made with beer," but I didn't really know what direction I wanted to go with it, so I headed to Siciliano's for some inspiration. They had just gotten their first shipment of The Good Samaritan in that day, and once I saw "brewed with apple cider" on the label, my mouth practically started watering over the idea of some sort of caramel apple flavored bread pudding. When I brought some home to try before developing my recipe, I discovered that it wasn't as heavy on the apple cider flavor as I was expecting. It's definitely there, along with some vanilla and toffee notes, but the most distinct flavor I noticed was banana, which was probably from the strain of (Belgian?) yeast that was used. The banana flavor really intensified after baking, and while this wasn't the flavor combination I was originally going for, I really can't complain about a banana and caramel flavored bread pudding!
For this recipe you will need:
1 large loaf of challah, cut into 1-inch cubes (enough to mostly cover the bottom of the pan)
12 ounces Short's The Good Samaritan
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups plain soy milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
Cut the challah into cubes, and place on baking sheet in single layer and let dry for 1-2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the challah cubes in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Pour the beer over the cubes and toss to coat. Let sit 15 minutes.
Place the eggs, sugar, vanilla and soy milk in a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Pour or ladle over the beer soaked challah and bake for 50 minutes, or until the pudding is set and the edges browned.
Meanwhile, make the caramel sauce. Place the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until all of the sugar has melted and you have a deep amber-colored syrup. Remove from the heat and carefully add the boiling water. The mixture will boil up and you will see some balls of caramel in the pot. Return the pan to medium heat and cook at a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Stir often until all of the caramel pieces have melted and you have a smooth syrup. Let cool, cover with plastic, and store at room temperature. The caramel sauce can be made up to three days in advance.
To serve, cut the pudding into squares, place on your serving plate and drizzle on the caramel sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature. For an extra kick, serve with vanilla ice cream. The pudding can be reheated in a warm oven (200°F) for 20 minutes.
Store covered in plastic in the refrigerator for up to five days.