Sourdough Bread Pudding with Bourbon Plum Sauce

I received free samples of California Dried Plums mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Dried Plum Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Texture can make or break a food. When it comes to dessert, I’ll take a tres leches cake or bread pudding over almost anything else. I love tender, moist treats! A lot of people I talk to aren’t fond of the “sogginess” of these baked goods. The great thing about bread pudding, though, is that you can adjust the “juiciness” of it by using a little less liquid. That way you get lots of flavor without the mush. Unless you like mushy… then go ahead and soak it in custard!

Today’s bread pudding recipe is inspired by (1) the sourdough French toast I made for my sister a few weeks ago (AMAZING!), (2) the massive bottle of bourbon in our pantry (I want to use it in everything right now), and (3) California Dried Plums! Growing up, I only ever had dried plums baked into pork. And as much as I love my mom, the dish was always overcooked and dry. It made me believe I don’t like pork or dried plums. Now I know better.

Plums are very nutritious! The California Plum Board Website Reports: “Dried plums contain potassium, soluble and insoluble fiber, phytochemicals that function as antioxidants as well as some iron and Vitamin A.” And they’re great for bone health!  Dried plums improve bone mineral density by altering the differentiation of osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are responsible for re-absorbing bone minerals, which weakens the bone matrix. It’s still not entirely clear how this happens, but the effect appears to be a result of the polyphenols contained in dried plums.  This effect is particularly of interest for older, osteopenic postmenopausal women, but also a great consideration for keeping bones healthy at any age. (Read more about it here)

The viscosity and rich flavor of dried plums make the sauce for this lightened up bread pudding taste decadent.

Sourdough Bread Pudding

Sourdough Bread Pudding with Bourbon Plum Sauce (serves 8)

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed sourdough bread (about 8 ounces; I used 6 or 7 slices)
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk (use less for a drier bread pudding)
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs

For the Plum Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup California Dried Plums
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk (or more for a thinner sauce)

Garnish:

  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare bread pudding, arrange bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes or until lightly toasted.

3. In a mixing bowl whisk together sweetened condensed milk, 1% milk, bourbon, vanilla extract, salt, and eggs. Add bread cubes. Let stand 20 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread to soak up milk.

4. For a thick bread pudding, spoon the bread mixture into a 9 x 5  inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. For a shallow bread pudding, spoon into a 9 x 9 inch cake pan.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. To prepare sauce, combine dried plums, 3 tablespoons bourbon, and butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and 3/4 cup low-fat milk. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

6. Transfer the sauce and plums to a blender and pulse until smooth. Add additional milk until desired consistency is achieved. Serve warm sauce with bread pudding and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Sourdough Bread Pudding with Bourbon Plum Sauce

The dried plums work wonders in this recipe! You can get away with using a lot less sugar and fat in the sauce because of their natural sweetness and creamy consistency when blended. The smoky sweet flavor of prunes pairs well with bourbon and is offset by the subtle tanginess of the sourdough bread. Just a few bites will be enough to satisfy your sweet tooth! I hope you’ll make this for Mother’s Day or another special occasion.

Sourdough Bread Pudding with Bourbon Plum Sauce

I’m off to the Gilcrease Orchard with friends tomorrow morning to harvest some seasonal veggies. You read that right; vegetables grown in the desert! They should have asparagus, beets, carrots, kale, zucchini, and summer squash tomorrow. After the “field trip,” we’re going to workout in matching black and yellow outfits. My friends are so awesome. CAN’T WAIT! It should be a fun weekend!

Become a California dried plum lover! Check out the other contest entries:

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Biscuit Bread Pudding

I was so excited to make lemon ricotta muffins with blackberries last night! I found a highly rated recipe online and decided to follow it exactly, quieting my urge to make healthy swaps. I let the butter sit out at room temperature to soften, had fresh blackberries from my bountiful basket, and ricotta from Trader Joe’s. The plan was to celebrate Colby getting sworn in as an attorney with these muffins. I’m so proud of him!

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To my dismay, the five-star recipe I followed was less than stellar. The “muffins” turned out to be biscuits, and I don’t like biscuits! Colby was sweet and still ate a couple of them with about 3 glasses of milk to get the dryness out of his mouth. He even said he’d continue to eat them if I would put them in his lunch for work, but I can’t put him through that. I wound up eating the blackberries off the top of all the biscuits and going to bed irritated. That’s the last time I trust a recipe as is! I’m going with my gut from now on.

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This morning I woke up with a great idea. Instead of freezing or tossing out the leftovers, why not use them to make bread pudding? Leftover biscuits are perfect for bread pudding! The moisture from the milk and eggs solves the dryness problem I have with grainy biscuits.
Ingredients:
6-8 leftover biscuits (any kind)
1/3 cup egg whites
1 cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/2 cup of sugar or several packets of stevia (if not using sweet biscuits)

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Crumble biscuits into a large Pyrex dish (9×13″).

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2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture over the crumbled biscuits and allow to soak for 10-20 minutes.
3. Press your fingers into the crumbles to make sure they are all moist. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the top of the pudding is golden.
4. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream!

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So tasty!! If you want to make the same lemon ricotta biscuits I used, follow the recipe here. Try one, and then make this :)

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