After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, a reader, M.A.V., wrote to the Times-Picayune that her mother "lost all her cherished recipes in the flood" and particularly wanted to find the recipe for Leah Chase's bread pudding with praline liqueur. Leah Chase, whose family owns the landmark restaurant Dooky Chase, is famous in New Orleans for both her culinary prowess and her community service.
Serve with whipped cream on the side. The amount of vanilla extract seems like a lot, but it is correct.
Servings: 10 - 12
- For the pudding
- 2 cans (24 ounces) evaporated milk
- 1 cup water
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup praline liqueur or rum
- 5 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 loaf (16 ounces) stale white bread or stale po-boy bread, cubed
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted*
- 1 cup flaked or shredded coconut
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- For the sauce
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons praline liqueur or rum
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted*
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray oil.
For the pudding: In a large bowl, add the milk, water and eggs. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the liqueur or rum and the vanilla extract and stir until no streaks appear. Place the bread in the milk mixture and soak until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the pecans and coconut and stir well. Mix in the melted butter. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the pudding is browned and springs back to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for about 10 minutes.
For the sauce: In a medium pan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Gradually add the water, then the butter and vanilla extract and stir until all lumps are gone. Set the heat on low and simmer, with bubbles just breaking the surface, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the praline liqueur or rum and the pecans and cook for 10 minutes.
Cut the warm pudding into serving pieces. Serve on individual plates with a drizzle of sauce on top.
Adapted from restaurateur Leah Chase.
Tested by Leigh Lambert.
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