Peach Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel
Though often thought of as a dessert for cold weather, this version is lighter than many, due to the addition of whipped egg whites folded in just before baking. When served with warm bourbon caramel, it’s well worth firing up the oven, even in the heat of summer.
1 loaf Challah bread (approx. 1 pound)
5 eggs, separated
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 T pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 T butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups cream
1 cup milk
3-4 fresh peaches, washed, pitted and chopped
2 T unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 cup cream, room temperature
2 oz bourbon
Separate the egg yolks from the whites and refrigerate the whites for later use. Whisk the egg yolks, cream, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl. Blend well until combined thoroughly. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Pour custard mixture over bread and toss to coat pieces evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow bread to absorb the liquid.
Preheat oven to 350. Whip reserved egg whites to soft peak. Remove soaked bread from refrigerator, mix in butter pieces and peaches before folding in whipped egg whites until combined. Transfer mixture to a well-greased 9x13 oven-safe dish or large cast iron skillet.
Cover loosely with foil and place in the center rack for approximately 45 minutes or until the bread pudding puffs in the center. Remove foil and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
To make the caramel, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, addsugar and water and stir to combine. Continue to monitor the sugar mixture as it cooks and eventually starts to brown. Resist the urge to stir during this process. As the sugar browns, it develops the signature caramel flavor. The darker it gets, the more pronounced the flavor will be. Just know that once it begins to brown, it will go quickly and you do not want to let it get dark and begin to burn, as it will become bitter. Once the sugar becomes a medium shade of brown, carefully whisk in the cream. It will bubble up as the cream is added, so be aware. Once you’ve added the cream, remove from heat and whisk in the bourbon. Serve warm with the bread pudding.