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Monday
Sep092013

New Orleans Bread Pudding: Palace Cafe Recipe

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

I like bread pudding. But usually, "like" is about as far as my affection goes. I like it. I'll eat it. But I'm never like "yeah! Bread pudding!" and happy dancing about it or anything.

That changed when I tried bread pudding in New Orleans. I said to myself, "they get it here, man. They really get it." The texture is not so much like custardy, soaked bread as it is like velvet. It's so smooth. And they put this sauce on it which is as addictive as I imagine crystal meth to be. At just about every establishment at which I sampled bread pudding in New Orleans, it was one of those situations where I was like "OK, I'll have a bite" and then ended up eating the whole thing and scraping the spoon on the bottom wanting more. 

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Upon inspection of a variety of recipes and talking to bakers from the area, I think I've pretty much figured out the secrets behind the bread pudding success in New Orleans: they basically double the butter, cream, and eggs, and add booze besides. And the results are stellar.

I'd like to try as many of these New Orleans bread pudding recipes as I can. Will you taste along with me? 

First up is the White Chocolate Bread Pudding from the Palace Cafe. It's owned by Dickie Brennan, a famed restaurateur in the area. 

This recipe intrigued me, quite frankly, because I had a lot of white chocolate on hand. 

White chocolate

I'll tell the truth: I made some changes. First, I halved the original recipe. I just didn't have 15 eggs on hand, and it seemed like it would make more bread pudding than two people needed in my household. 

Halved, the recipe worked great. The texture is like butter. It's so soft, and so moist, it practically oozes like a tres leches cake.

YES!

This is probably owing to the glaze. It seems like an obscene amount of liquid at first, but somehow the bread pudding absorbs it all. The white chocolate tastes wonderful with the dash of bourbon I took the liberty of adding to the recipe. Actually, after a few bites, everything in the world looks glorious.

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Adapted from Palace Cafe: The Flavor of New Orleans - printable version here

6 servings

  • 1 loaf French bread (you are not going to use the whole thing, but have it on hand)
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces white chocolate, chopped (or use chips)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 7 egg yolks
  • A rather generous glug of bourbon

White Chocolate Sauce

  • 8 ounces white chocolate (broken into small pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

Procedure

  1. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Divide it in half--you'll definitely use half, and you might use some of the rest of the cubes. If you don't, you can make croutons, yo. Place the half you're using in a large bowl. Set to the side.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch pan. Set to the side.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat the whipping cream, milk, and sugar over medium heat. Dash in the salt. When hot, take off the heat and add the white chocolate pieces; stir until melted.
  4. Combine the whole eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl. Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the eggs in a steady stream, whipping the eggs as you pour. If you wanna, add that glug of bourbon now. 
  5. Add the mixture to the bowl with the bread pieces.
  6. If the bread is positively swimming, add some more bread until the bread is covered, but not by much.
  7. White Chocolate Bread Pudding
  8. Feeling good? Now, transfer it to the prepared pan. The cubes of bread will poke up but it's really liquid-y.
  9. Using a spatula press down the bread so everything is absolutely saturated.
  10. White Chocolate Bread Pudding
  11. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until set and golden on top. You don't want brown, just lightly golden. 
  12. While it bakes, prepare the sauce. Bring the milk to a boil in a small sauce pan. Take off the heat and add white chocolate; stir until smooth and completely melted. It's going to be a fairly liquid sauce. White Chocolate Bread PuddingPour over the bread pudding right when it comes out of the oven. It may look like an obscene amount of liquid but the bread pudding will absorb it. White Chocolate Bread Pudding
  13. Let cool and enjoy. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days.

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Reader Comments (6)

This is a superb bread pudding from one of my favorite restaurants in the world.
That said I would like to stress the importance of a high quality white chocolate. That superb taste and texture we love at the Palace Cafe comes from using high quality ingredients and a bag of Nestle's chips will not cut it! Please go with Godiva, Callebaut or one of the many other fine chocolates.

I've had this recipe for years, now I think that I'll make it myself rather than waiting for my next trip to New Orleans! Thanks
September 10 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Conley
This looks so sinfully good I'm scared.
September 11 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
Can I use Rum instead of bourbon? Thanks
January 23 | Unregistered CommenterKim
I see no reason why rum wouldn't work!
January 23 | Registered CommenterCakespy
Lovely recipe, but you state initially that they double the "butter", but I see no butter in this recipe, while many others do include butter. Is this because of the inclusion of white chocolate?

I made this with caramelized white chocolate. Stellar.
April 21 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline
Hi Caroline!

I can see how it was confusing. I guess I was trying to make a clever generalization at the top of the post, speaking more to the style in general, but this version was more rich in cream than butter. Nonetheless, it does taste kind of buttery, doesn't it?

So glad you enjoyed it!
April 28 | Registered CommenterCakespy

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