Chrysta 10 min. 15 min.

A chef never knows where inspiration will strike.  Perhaps it was last weekend’s Kentucky Derby with it’s Bourbon-laced cocktails, or perhaps it was from my Whiskey guzzling loving friend Claire.  Whatever it was, I was inspired to test a recipe for my own brunch that could double for a Mother’s Day surprise ending to a celebratory meal.  The creation:  Bourbon and Pecan Bread Pudding topped with home-made Bourbon Ice Cream.


There’s something particularly pleasing about this dish.  First, it’s INCREDIBLY easy to make.  Secondly, I love that it repurposes stale bread:  waste not, want not, right? Third, this bread pudding is just incredibly comforting.  The warm, soft, and moist bread pudding gets crunchy on the sides and also the top thanks to a pecan crumble that bakes right on top.


You combine that hot, crunchy-edged bread pudding with the cool and smooth ice cream on top, and you get the juxtaposition of flavors and textures that are not normally created so easily.   The ice cream starts to melt a little, forming a sauce that runs into the dessert and down the sides.  The ratio of bread-to-custard, plus the butter that melts in from the top, plus that slightly melted ice cream, keeps this bread pudding moist, even without baking in a water bath.  Bottom Line:  You need to make this recipe soon!!

So make this for your mom, or bookmark this recipe for Father’s Day in 4 weeks.  Or make it just because you want to treat yourself with one of the best desserts you’ve had in a while.  Either way, get baking!

Because the ice cream must first be chilled, then churned, then frozen before serving, I recommend making the ice cream the day before you make the bread pudding. The day you make the ice cream, you can cube up your bread and let it sit in a bowl, uncovered, to get stale overnight.



Day 1:  Bourbon Ice Cream 


  • 1 1/2 C Half and Half

  • 1 C Heavy Cream
  • ½ C Milk, (whole or 2%)
  • 1/3 C Packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 C granulated white sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used Maldon sea salt)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup bourbon



1.  Make Custard:  In a double boiler, combine the cream, half-and-half, milk, and salt.  While mixture heats up, prepare your eggs.  

2. Prepare the Eggs: In a mixing bowl, separate egg yolks from eggs.  Next, beat the egg yolks and sugars together until well combined and slightly frothy.  Set aside.

3.  Check the milk:  You want the heated milk to have small bubbles around the edges and to begin to steam lightly.  It should not be boiling. 

4.  Temper the eggs:  Turn your mixer on.  Take 1/3 cup of the hot milk mixture and slowly pour into the egg mixture.  While mixer is still one, slowly pour another 1/3 Cup of milk-mixture into the eggs.  Finally, add one more 1/3 Cup of the milk-mixture into the eggs.   If you’ve tempered eggs before, you can do this with a whisk.  Just be sure to whisk quickly so that eggs are whipped into the milk mixture.

 By doing this you have raised the temperature of the eggs so that when they are added into the milk mixture on the double boiler, the eggs won’t curdle.  Two additional steps (creaming eggs and sugar together, and using the double boiler) will help ensure you don’t cook/scramble your eggs while you are cooking the custard.

5.  Cook Custard:  Continuously stir/whisk the custard for 6 minutes over medium heat, or until the custard has reached between 165-170 degrees.  You can also do the spoon test, which means that mixture has gotten so thick that it will coat the back of a spoon, and when you draw a line on the back of the spoon, through the custard, the line remains.

6. Strain the Custard:  Grab a clean bowl and a strainer.  Pour the hot custard through the strainer to catch any eggs that may have cooked/curdled in the custard. 

 7.  Add flavorings: Turn off heat.  Add vanilla and bourbon into the strained custard.

 8. Chill Custard:  Pour custard into a large bowl. Chill custard for 1 hour, then cover with a lid or plastic wrap.  Chill at least another 3 hours.  The longer the custard cools, the thicker the custard will be when frozen in your machine.    I chilled my batch over night.

 9.  Churn Ice Cream:  Churn your ice cream according to your ice-cream maker’s instructions.  Remember, after 20 minutes, the mixture will be completed, but it will be the consistency of a thick milkshake (or a Wendy’s Frosty).  Spoon the ice cream from machine into a freeze-safe container with a lid.


10.  Freeze:  Freeze the Ice Cream for at least 2 hours to ensure the ice cream is hard enough to scoop.



Day 2:  Bread Pudding



  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup of half-and-half
  • 3 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 11 ounces of stale bread,  cubed.  


  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 ounces (or 1/3 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2  cup chopped pecans


The Night before:  cube bread and sit in a bowl overnight so that bread can get more stale.

1.  Preheat Oven:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Prepare Pan:  Prepare a casserole pan, I’m using a 10×2 pan.  (something small than a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan will be best)

3.  Make Custard: Mix sugars,  vanilla, eggs, half-and-half, milk, bourbon in a bowl. Add cubed bread to the custard and let sit for 15 minutes.  Then, pour into casserole dish.

4.  Make Topping:  Mix brown sugar, butter, and pecans together and sprinkle over the top of the bread pudding.


5. Bake:   Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the pudding has set and is firm in the middle. Remove from oven.  Note:  when you remove from oven, the bread pudding will have puffed up.  As the dish cools, the pudding will reduce in size (essentially, it flattens).

6.  Cool:  Let pudding cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.


Serve bread pudding as it, or top with Bourbon Ice Cream for an extra amazing flavor combination.