Friday, April 24, 2015

Brown Butter Pecan Brioche Pudding with Bourbon Brown Butter Sauce

Butter Pecan Brioche Bread Pudding with boozy sauce. Just say it to yourself and you'll know exactly why I allowed myself to be seduced by this idea. The idea for this was sparked because my new boss has a pretty sweet (no pun intended) ice cream maker and was describing the rich, custard-y chocolate ice cream she had made. It caused me to dream of making my favorite flavor at home: butter pecan. Well, I don't have an ice cream maker and I'd been planning to play around with another style of bread pudding and bam--this dish was born. I added my own little twist to the idea of butter pecan by using nutty brown butter in both the pudding and the sauce. Sweet and spicy cognac and bourbon in the sauce compliment the rich butter flavor and crisp toasted pecans. This is an easy yet impressive dish to make for company. If you chill the sauce you may notice it separating. It will come back together when warm and sufficiently whisked.

A word about the choice of bread: If you can find brioche or have a good recipe and don't mind making some, definitely use it; it really gave the pudding a much softer consistency, so it was more like a custard than a bread pudding. This was the consistency I was shooting for and I think it can best be achieved with soft bread like brioche or challah, although brioche is best.

Brown Butter Pecan Brioche Pudding with Bourbon Brown Butter Sauce

For the Pudding:

4 cups stale brioche, cubed
4 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons clarified brown butter
1/3 cup whole pecans
1 tiny pinch of salt

1. Assemble the bread pudding: grease a 9 × 9 inch baking dish and lightly press the brioche into the dish to compact it somewhat and make it easier for the egg mixture to be absorbed.
2. Whisk together all other pudding ingredients and pour equally over entire pan of bread cubes. Press once more to get eggs absorbed. Cover and chill for a minimum of 3 hours and up to overnight.
3. In the last half hour of your pudding chilling, make your sauce (see below instructions).
4. Preheat the oven to 325 and lay your pecans in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Ladle a small amount of sauce over them and toast for between 5 - 10 minutes. Set sauce aside and cover to keep warm.
5. Turn the oven down to 300 and bake bread pudding for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake.
6. Chop toasted pecans and sprinkle over each portion before serving. Cover each portion with a generous amount of sauce.

For the Sauce:

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons cognac
2 Tablespoons bourbon
1/4 cup cream
2 Tablespoons clarified brown butter

1. Add water sugar and salt to a small saucepan over low heat. When sugar has dissolved add cognac and bourbon.
2. Reduce to 2/3rds of its original volume by continuing to cook sauce at a lazy simmer.
3. When it has been suitably reduced, add cream to warmed brown butter. Whisk to combine. Slowly incorporate this into your sauce and remove from heat.
4. Use sauce for pecans and to cover bread pudding.


  1. This looks amazing. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. This looks amazing. Thank you so much for sharing.