Imagine melding the best, most obscenely indulgent aspects of pecan pie and bread pudding. That’s this pecan pie bread pudding. Oh, Lord, just take us now. A heads up, though, that while this recipe isn’t difficult, and is an inspired destination for all the leftovers from your favorite bread recipes, it has the potential to seem complicated because it’s composed of several steps. Here, we propose what to do when:

Day 1: Roast the pecans. Make the crumb topping. Mix your wet ingredients for the bread pudding, then add the bread and let soak in the fridge overnight. Make the custard for the ice cream and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2: Churn the ice cream in the morning so there’s time for it to chill and firm in the freezer after churning. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the bread pudding and bake for 30 minutes. Make the pecan caramel sauce. Serve.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Glass bowl filled with pecan pie bread pudding, caramel sauce, bourbon-vanilla ice cream on a marble table

Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

5 / 2 votes
This pecan pie bread pudding is a New Orleans style dessert that’s sorta like a melding of pie and pudding served with caramel sauce and an exceptionally indulgent bourbon vanilla ice cream instead of traditional bourbon sauce.
David Leite
CourseDessert
CuisineAmerican
Servings8 servings
Calories1724 kcal
Prep Time1 hour 45 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time5 hours

Equipment

  • Ice cream maker; eight 6-ounce ramekins

Ingredients 

For the bourbon vanilla ice cream

  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon

For the brown sugar crumble

  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 3 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the pecan pie bread pudding

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 12 (1-inch-thick) slices white bread or brioche or challah
  • Unsalted butter, for the ramekins or baking dish

For the pecan caramel

  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups dark corn syrup
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces

Instructions 

Make the bourbon vanilla ice cream

  • In a pot over medium-high heat, combine the heavy cream, milk, and sugar and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove the pot from the heat.
  • In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Very slowly drizzle 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Add the vanilla bean and seeds to the mixture and whisk until combined.
  • Return the pot to low heat and stir the custard with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Immediately remove the custard from the heat and stir in the bourbon. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, gently pressing the plastic against the surface of the custard. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
  • Transfer the chilled custard to an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the ice cream from the machine, transfer to a resealable container, and freeze for at least 2 hours or until firm.

Make the brown sugar crumble

  • Preheat the oven to 300ºF (148°C). Adjust the oven rack to the middle position.
  • Scatter the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and slide it into the oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until the nuts are fragrant. Dump the pecans onto a plate and let cool completely.
  • Once the pecans are cool, add the brown sugar and melted butter and mix with your hands until the mixture resembles a crumble topping.

Make the pecan pie bread pudding

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, heavy cream, sugar, eggs, and corn syrup until fully combined.
  • Cut the bread into cubes and add them to the milk mixture. Gently fold the bread into the milk mixture until fully coated. Let the bread soak at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or, ideally, cover and soak in the refrigerator for 2 days for maximum flavor.
  • Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190°C). Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Butter eight 6-ounce ramekins or a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. If using ramekins, place them on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Spoon the bread mixture into the ramekins or baking dish and sprinkle with the brown sugar crumble. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the bread pudding is golden brown and bubbling.
  • Let cool slightly.

Make the pecan caramel

  • While the bread pudding cools, drop the oven down to 300ºF (148°C).
  • Scatter the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and slide it into the oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until the nuts are fragrant. Dump the pecans onto a plate and let cool completely.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar and dark corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. 
  • Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir the pecans into the caramel and cover to keep warm.

Assemble the dish

  • Drizzle the pecan caramel over the bread pudding and plop a scoop bourbon vanilla ice cream atop or alongside each portion of bread pudding. Serve right away.
Marc Forgione Cookbook

Adapted From

Marc Forgione

Buy On Amazon

Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 1724 kcalCarbohydrates: 273 gProtein: 19 gFat: 68 gSaturated Fat: 30 gMonounsaturated Fat: 24 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 347 mgSodium: 557 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 232 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Marc Forgione. Photo © 2014 Evan Sung. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Oh my goodness gracious. This pecan pie bread pudding was a wonderful take on pecan pie.

There were many steps, but they were easy steps and worth every ounce of effort. I liked the consistency of the pudding. It wasn’t mushy, as I’ve experienced in the past. I bought a loaf of challah at a local grocery store. We use this bread for French toast, and it holds its own in milk.

We baked our bread pudding in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish and not in ramekins since I was serving 10. I put together the drizzle while the pudding was baking. I prefer light corn syrup to dark for pies, so I made the drizzle with light corn syrup. I’d also serve the ice cream beside the pudding rather than on top, as it turns the caramel drizzle into a chewy candy. I recommend following the 2-day schedule.

This pecan pie bread pudding was excellent and would satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. All the components are easy to make, and with a little planning, everything comes together easily. My favorite part of this recipe was the vanilla and bourbon ice cream. It was fantastic and I’ll be making it on its own in the future.

Wow. This is one of those dishes that makes you smile when tasting the first bite. This bread pudding has a few components, but they are all critical to the success of this dish. The pudding has essentially 2 caramels—one is the brown sugar crumble which caramelizes in the oven and one is the pecan caramel that’s poured on top. It may seem over the top at first, but I promise they come together to make the most delightfully rich and caramel-y bread pudding.

I used homemade challah. I think the recipe needs to give some better instructions about the amount of bread to be used. I would really have appreciated a weight or even volume measure. The loaves I made were on the small end, but I still only used twelve 1-inch slices. This left me with not really enough bread in the bread-to-custard ratio. I usually have smaller loaves or buns of challah and brioche, so just the 1-inch slice measure isn’t enough information to make a good decision about how much total bread to include…but I think maybe most people are more likely to have regular-size loaves and wouldn’t have this problem. The end result was still truly amazing, but I really wish I had used more bread.

I used a 9-by-13-inch pan and I used all the crumble. It did feel like a lot when scooping on but the way it caramelized in the oven I don’t think it was too much.

When reading the recipe, you may ask yourself, “Do I really need to make own ice cream?” The answer is yes, and it needs to be this one. Not only does bread pudding need a scoop ice cream to be complete, but that hint of bourbon in this ice cream is what makes the whole bite truly divine. The bread pudding itself is about 10 servings, but the ice cream is only about 5 in my opinion.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I would like to eat this as my last dessert before I die. This was phenomenal. I made a homemade brioche bread, which made the pudding unbelievably fluffy — it tickled the roof of my mouth a little. The homemade ice cream was fantastic and cut into the sweetness of the oven caramel sauce. Overall, the best bread pudding I have ever had (and I’ve had a lot). My only critiques would be to reduce the brown sugar crumble (I think 2 cups of brown sugar is more appropriate) and maybe 1.5 tablespoons of bourbon to really get that flavor in there. Otherwise, it should be a life requirement to make this recipe.

    1. Thank you, Jordan, for sharing your experience and photo. We are so incredibly pleased that this dessert brought you so much joy. It looks absolutely perfect.

    1. Hi Sharon, yes, the ice cream, crumble and bread pudding can be made in advance. While the bread pudding cooks, you can whip up the caramel sauce and assemble the dish at the last moment.