CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Several weeks ago I was looking for a dessert that would travel well to a weekend gathering at a Virginia lake house. A conversation with my good friend and Gazette feature writer Sara Busse provided the perfect dish.
Her daughter, Emma, brought home a recipe for bread pudding with vanilla sauce from The Greenbrier, where she attended a cooking demonstration given by resort chefs. The chefs shared the recipe and Emma made it for her family the following weekend.
As Sara raved about the results, I realized this was the perfect dish to take to a carefree lakeside weekend. I could make it and the sauce ahead of time and it would transport easily in a cooler without the risk of spillage or spoilage that more delicate desserts might incur.
Naturally, the recipe called for Greenbrier peaches, but I substituted a grocery-store variety of canned peaches with no adverse affects. I did splurge on the bread, and picked up a loaf of raisin cinnamon swirl bread from Charleston Bread on Capitol Street, a step I highly recommend. The dense texture, generous helping of raisins and thick vein of cinnamon make the perfect bread pudding base.
With a custard filling holding the bread chunks together, the dessert was more moist than that your typical bread pudding. The cinnamon scent of the bread pudding as it baked made my mouth water.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I made the vanilla sauce. The recipe said to strain the mixture, then place it in an ice bath. I poured it through a mesh colander into a small bowl. The small bowl went into a larger bowl containing ice water. After it cooled, I stirred in the vanilla and about two tablespoons of bourbon, a little at a time, to be sure it didn't affect the consistency. The silky, not-too-sweet sauce provided the perfect finishing touch.
The pudding fed a crowd for dessert with a little left over. I thought it also qualified as breakfast because it contained milk and eggs and got up early enough the next day to snag a piece. I forwent the bourbon sauce. It was breakfast, after all.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.
@recipe hed: Greenbrier Bread Pudding
1 loaf Greenbrier Daley bread , or other good-quality cinnamon raisin bread
8 tablespoons, (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup diced, drained Greenbrier peaches
4 cups milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
@recipe dir: HEAT oven to 375 degrees.
CUT bread into 1-inch squares, spread on a baking sheet and toast in the heated oven until light brown, about 8 minutes.