Rum and Raisin Bread Pudding with a Cranberry Mint Sauce

A beautiful comforting and homey pudding something that my grandmother often made as treat steamed in tightly closed stainless steel bowls until it reached soft comforting indulgent perfection.
The potent yet magical ingredient in this bread pudding are the raisins which can be soaked for up to a week. This pudding is adapted from a old fashioned family recipe. I know that it seems strange but my grandmother made many a bread pudding that were rich tasting, creamy and imbued with brandy instead of rum. Why brandy? Oh well! Dida (my grandmother) believed that a shot of brandy would chase away some very bad chills except that we never had too many of those chills and the brandy remained.
Raisins were soaked in that brandy and tossed into a fairly creamy rich bread pudding and the rum and raising bread pudding happened.

Ingredients:

½ cup large raisins
1/2 cup pineapple rum
4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups half and half
2 cups white bread cubes (the bread should be at least a couple of days old and brioche and challah bread)
½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted
For the sauce
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
Zest and juice of 2 clementines
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
mint springs to garnish

Method:

Place the raisins in a small bowl, pour on the rum, and set aside to soak while
preparing the batter. You can soak this well up to 3 to 4 hours or even over night.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 3 minutes
until nice and thick. Add the vanilla extract and half and half and beat well.
Toss the bread cubes in the melted butter and place in a 10-inch to 12-inch square casserole. Pour in the rum and raisin mixture and mix lightly to distribute
evenly. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and mix well.
Place the casserole in a deeper ovenproof dish and fill with 2 inches of water. Place the pans in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until the mixture is golden and well risen. Turn off the oven and let the pudding cool in the oven for at least 30 minutes before serving.
In the meantime place the cranberries, sugar, zest and clementine in a saucepan and let it cook on low heat. Gradually the sugar will melt and the cranberries will softly begin to pop, and dissolve into a soft tangy sweet mass of delightful and vivid sauce.
Pour the sauce over the pudding.
To serve add the pudding into serving bowls topped with springs of mint and serve.

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