I have to say that I never thought I would be a fan of bread pudding. I mean, it seems too simple to be a good dessert... stale bread? Really? However, I had read many wonderful reviews of this dish on Disney message boards, and I decided I would have to judge for myself.
So, back in 2007 I went to WDW with my boyfriend and I made an ADR for our first night at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney. I figured it would be convenient since we were staying at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort and we could take a romantic boat ride directly to Downtown Disney. Plus, I was on a mission to eat this dessert.
So, we got to the restaurant and ordered the Dalkey Duo (a heavenly deep fried sausage appetizer... a recipe I will tackle in the future), then I got a salad as an entree, since I didn't want to be too full for dessert. Well, I was full, but that didn't stop me.
The dessert was served in a mug and had little pitchers of cream and caramel sauce to pour on top. It was so delicious and something that just warms the soul.
Here is a picture of this fine dessert:
It was so good that I made a point to go back to the restaurant specifically for dessert (ok, we had the Dalkey Duo too...and some ribs... but no entree) this past May with my sister.
So, here is my attempt to recreate that wonderful dish.
First, preheat the oven to 350 and butter a casserole dish. I have to note that the original pudding has raisins in it, but I prefer the dessert without them, so I have omitted them.
Then tear some pieces of bread (I had been saving odds and ends of bread loaves and sticking them in the freezer, knowing I would make this eventually), then spread the pieces of bread with softened butter and layer in the dish.
Next, I started the custard by boiling 1 1/3 c cream and 1 1/3 c milk and then immediately taking it off the heat. While it was coming up to temperature, I whisked together 4 egg yolks and 1/3 c superfine sugar... and then stirred this over a pot of simmering water. I don't have a proper double boiler, so I improvised with a big pyrex cup and it did the job.
Then I beat the egg mixture slowly into the cream mixture and poured 2/3 of it on top of the bread.
This needs to sit and soak for about 30 minutes. After the waiting period, pour the remaining custard on top of the bread, pressing the bread down so at least half of it gets soaked in the custard. Then put it in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes.
While it is baking, it is time to make the custard sauce and caramel sauce. For the custard, heat 2 3/4 c milk to a boil. Meanwhile, combine 6 egg yolks, 3 3/4 T superfine sugar and some vanilla in a separate bowl.
Then slowly whisk the hot milk slowly into the egg mixture (you do not want scrambled eggs!). Then wipe the milk pan clean and pour the milk/egg mixture back in. Cook this mixture, stirring constantly (or, at least, often) until thickened. About 10 minutes. Do not let this mixture boil.
While this is heating, make the caramel sauce. Heat 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, 4 T light muscovado sugar (My grocery store did not have this. Muscovado sugar is a very dark sugar, so I just substituted dark brown sugar. It was fine) and 2 1/2 T clear honey (I could not find clear honey, so I just used clover honey and again, it was fine) to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Then add 2 1/2 T heavy cream and cook another 2 - 3 minutes over low heat.
The caramel sauce does not take much effort, so you can still keep an eye on your custard and keep stirring. Here is the thickened sauce (you can make a line on the back of a spoon).
And that's it. Here is the bread pudding next to both sauces.
As you can see, the recipe makes a whole lot more custard sauce than caramel sauce. I think you could halve the custard and double the caramel for the perfect ratio. But, I love caramel, so maybe that is just my personal taste.
Here is an individual portion.
The verdict? Really, really good. It doesn't look as pretty as the restaurant version, and the bread didn't seem to hold together as much as it did at Raglan Road (maybe because I used a casserole dish instead of packing the bread into individual baking containers), but it was delicious. The flavor is exactly what I remembered from Disney.
The restaurant charges $6.99 per person for this dessert...and this recipe is good for four very generous servings...probably 6 reasonable servings, but I am not reasonable :) So, it is definitely much more frugal to make it at home.
If you want to go to Disney World and try the original version, contact me at http://www.kingdomplanners.com/ and we can help you plan your vacation!