Jennifer’s “folks” have been in town this weekend and I was tired of hearing how fattening my food was, so I decided to try a (sic’) lower calorie version of my usual bread pudding. I most associate bread pudding with the best native cuisine in this country, Cajun/Creole/New Orleans.
Usually bread pudding is nothing more than bread soaked in a rich custard and in New Orleans topped with a whisky sauce. The ratio for custard, per Ruhlman, is 2 parts liquid and 1 part egg. This applies to a free form custard. For a bread pudding, I usually use 4 parts liquid to 1 part egg. And for sweetness, 1 part sugar. When calories are not an issue, I use half and half and also add 1\2 part melted butter. For a 10 ounce (standard) loaf of french bread, that would equal 1 quart of half and half, 4 large eggs (8 ozs), 1 cup sugar, and 1 stick of butter. The whisky sauce can be just as decadant and usually the make-up is more of a creme anglaise.
How to lighten this up? In my fridge I had a quart of fat free buttermilk, so I rationed that I could substitute for the half and half and additional butter, all the while picking up a welcome twange that comes with buttermilk. To my concotion I added some cinnomin, nutmeg, coconut flakes, and whisky soaked raisins.
The next problem was the sauce. I recollected OG’s post about the wonders of xanthan gum and decided to give it a whirl here. Instead of a creme anglaise base, I used 1% milk, powdered sugar, Canadian Mist (don’t ask) and xanthan gum.
The result was a very solid bread pudding that didn’t leave me feeling completely ruined. However, I did eat more than I intended to. Gonna have to start my diet tomorrow, no wait, can’t, gotta go to Cracker Barrell…(that’s an inside joke for G, Happy Birthday Buddy).
Lower Fat Bread Pudding
1 loaf french bread, cubed 1 inch pieces
1 quart fat free buttermilk
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnomin
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup whiskey soaked raisins
1 cup chopped pecan
1/2 cup coconut flakes
Brown sugar for dusting
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup powdered or granulated sugar
2-3 T whisky
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
Whisk sugar, spices, eggs in a large glass bowl. Slowly add the buttermilk. Toss in the bread. Saturate and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9 x 13 dish. Spoon in 1/2 of bread mixture. Toss on 1/ 2 the raisins and sprinkle with coconut. Repeat. Finish with the pecans and a dusting of brown sugar. Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours until browned and the custard is set.
When ready to serves, blend the sauce ingredients and spoon over individual servings of the warm pudding. You may have to add a bit more xanthan gum to get the consistency you want, but too much and you’ll make snot.