Bourbon Bread Pudding: An Ending to my Practice Thanksgiving

bourbon bread pudding

All good meals must end. Even pretend meals. The final course in my “practice” Thanksgiving is Bourbon Bread Pudding.

There’s just something about bread pudding. It’s one of those rare combinations whose sum is somehow greater than its parts. It’s not a pudding in the American sense. Traditional American pudding has a smoothly creamy consistent texture. It usually comes in vanilla, chocolate or butterscotch. Comparatively speaking North American pudding is a newfangled invention. Nothing at all like its old-world counterpart.

The English have really embraced the whole idea of bread pudding for hundreds and hundreds of years. In Victorian times, it became a staple of the children’s nursery, and was known as Bread and Butter pudding. It can be richly complex with a custard component. It can even include other ingredients like currants or raisins and booze, as in the Bourbon Bread Pudding I’m serving today. However, it can also be a very simple combination of bread and sweet milk stirred into a china cup. Milky and comforting. Just thing to quiet a restless child.

In fact I bet you didn’t know that this blog was named after a bread pudding nursery rhyme.

Sippity sup, sippity sup,
Bread and milk from a china cup.
Bread and milk from a bright silver spoon
Made of a piece of the bright silver moon.
Sippity sup, sippity sup,
Sippity, sippity sup.

Of course I’ve grown up (and so has my blog). So I don’t mind a splash of something “comforting” in my bread pudding. To end my series on Thanksgiving this year, I bring you Bourbon Bread Pudding, as a Thanksgiving dessert.

Don’t worry. Someone else will bring the pumpkin pie. You’ve done enough for one meal. This Bourbon Bread Pudding won’t overwhelm an overburdened cook and it has everything you want in a Thanksgiving dessert, including a healthy splash of bourbon. Sippity, sippity sup Indeed. GREG

bourbon bread pudding

Bourbon Bread Pudding 

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bread pudding


  • 3/4 cup bourbon (divided)
  • 1 cup currants or raisins
  • 2 cup heavy cream (divided)
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar (divided)
  • 8 cup rustic bread (slightly stale and cut into 1‑inch cubes)
  • 3 cup whole milk
  • 4 large eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (softened)


Heat ½ cup bourbon in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat until warm. Place the currants or raisins in a small bowl and pour the warm bourbon on top; let stand at least 1 hour or overnight.

Make the bourbon sauce: In a small saucepan set over medium heat bring 1‑cup cream to a simmer. In a small bowl whisk cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of the warm cream together to create a slurry; slowly whisk the slurry into the remaining warm cream. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Once it boils add the ¼ cup sugar and reduce heat to very low. Whisk constantly until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in remaining ¼ cup bourbon. Set aside to cool completely.

Make the bread pudding: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl stir together bread, milk, and remaining 1‑cup cream. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, remaining 1 ½ cups sugar, vanilla, salt, and all spice until well combined; add to bread mixture. Stir in the currants or raisins and the bourbon they soaked in.

Butter a 2‑quart shallow baking dish in oven. Pour in bread mixture, spreading it evenly across the bottom of the baking dish. Bake in the heated oven until bread cubes are browned and custard is cooked, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with bourbon sauce. Reheat the sauce gently with ½ teaspoon water if necessary.