I asked Ashton, my pastry chef, to do something fun and interesting with pecan pie, and this pecan pie bread pudding is her spin. Pecan pie is rich on its own, but served with bread pudding, it’s even more decadent. The dessert was a hit with our patrons—and we return to the recipe time and time again.–Marc Forgione
LC What To Do When Note
This recipe isn’t difficult. It’s actually quite straightforward. It just has the potential to seem complicated because it’s composed of several different—albeit simple—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.
Pecan Pie Bread Pudding
- Quick Glance
- 1 H, 45 M
- 5 H
- Serves 8
Special Equipment: Ice cream maker; eight 6-ounce ramekins
- 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 (2 ounces) 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 (2 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
- Make the bourbon vanilla ice cream
- 1. 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.
- 2. In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Slowly drizzle 1/3 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.
- 3. 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.
- 4. 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
- 5. Preheat the oven to 300ºF (148°C). Adjust the oven rack to the middle position.
- 6. 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.
- 7. 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
- 8. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, heavy cream, sugar, eggs, and corn syrup until fully combined.
- 9. 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.
- 10. 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.
- 11. 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
- 12. While the bread pudding cools, crank the oven down to 300ºF (148°C).
- 13. 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.
- 14. 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. 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
- 15. 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.
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 cooked 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 a 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.