Whiskey Meringue Bread Pudding!
1 (1 pound) loaf of stale French bread, sliced and cubed (about 9 to 10 cups)
6 cups of milk, divided
6 large eggs, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened at room temperature
1-1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup of black or golden raisins, optional
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water, divided
6 reserved egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
Whiskey Sauce, optional
Slice the bread into 1 inch slices then cube into 4 to 6 cubes depending on how big a loaf it is. Place half of the bread in a large glass bowl and pour 4 cups of milk on top, press bread down into the milk. Add remaining bread and milk and mash down, adding additional milk if needed to cover. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the cornstarch mixture for the meringue by mixing together 2 tablespoons of the water with the cornstarch; set aside. In a small saucepan, bring the remaining 1/2 cup of water to a boil and using a wire whisk, beat in the cornstarch mixture and cook, until thickened and clear. Set aside to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish; set aside. Separate eggs, cover and refrigerate the egg whites. In a separate medium size bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and eggs together; stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Stir the butter and sugar mixture into the bread mixture and mix well; turn out into the prepared pan. Scatter the raisins on top, if using. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Uncover, return to oven and bake an additional 30 minutes. The last 10 minutes of cooking time, prepare meringue.
Using a whisk beater, add the egg whites to a clean mixer bowl and beat until foamy. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form, begin adding the sugar a little at a time, then the cooled cornstarch mixture. Continue beating until mixture stiffens.
Remove bread pudding from the oven and immediately add the meringue to the hot bread pudding, spreading completely out to the edges of the baking dish, and swirling to create peaks; return to the oven to lightly brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, watching carefully. Let rest for 10 minutes. To serve, scoop out or cut squares of the warm bread pudding onto individual plates and drizzle with whiskey sauce, if desired.
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of heavy cream or whole milk
1 tablespoon of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of whiskey, or to taste
Melt butter in a saucepan and whisk all other ingredients in except the vanilla and whiskey; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat, add vanilla and whiskey, whisk and drizzle over individual servings of warm bread pudding, shown above.
Note: Can omit whiskey for a simple glaze, or substitute rum, if desired.