This is my most favorite dessert in the entire world. It is the signature dish at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. The recipe comes direct from their kitchen, with a bit of improvisation for the smoker. You will note there are 3 distinct steps to making this. Both the bread pudding and the bourbon sauce can be made ahead of time, as they need to cool to room temp after cooking. These two steps, from prep to cook, will take about an hour. The meringue and the building and baking of the soufflé should be done right before you want to serve (that step will take about 30 minutes).
Start with making the bread pudding. You will need:
- 3/4C Sugar
- 1t Cinnamon
- Pinch of Nutmeg
- 3 Eggs
- 1C Heavy Cream
- 1t vanilla
- 5C New Orleans Style French Bread cut into 1″ pieces
- This amounts to an approximate 18″ loaf. New Orleans style French bread is very light and tender. If your bread is too dense, it will soak up the custard and the recipe will not work.
- 1/3C raisins
Preheat your smoker to 350F. Butter an 8″ square baking pan. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs until smooth, then work in the heavy cream. Add the vanilla, then the bread cubes. Allow the bread to soak up the custard, while stirring/folding every so often. Takes about 10 minutes.
Place the raisins in the greased pan. Top with the bread/egg mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pudding has a golden brown color and is firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the pudding comes out clean when it is done. Cool to room temp.
Next, make the Bourbon Sauce:
- 1C Heavy Cream
- 1/2T Corn Starch
- 1T Water
- 3T Sugar
- 1/4C Bourbon
Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Whisk corn starch and water together, and add to cream while whisking. Bring back to a boil and whisk/simmer for a few seconds, taking care not to burn the mixture on the bottom. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and bourbon. Taste to make sure the sauce has a bit of a thick consistency, a sufficiently sweet taste, and a good bourbon flavor. Cool to room temp.
Now, make the meringue:
- 9 Egg Whites
- 3/4C Sugar
- 1/4t Cream of Tarter
Keep the smoker at 350F. Butter 4 nine ounce ramekins. In a mixer, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add the sugar gradually and continue whipping until shiny and thick. Test with a clean spoon. If the whites stand up stiff, like shaving cream, when you pull out the spoon, the meringue is ready. Do not overwhip, or the whites will break down and the soufflé will not work.
In a large bowl, break half the bread pudding into pieces using your hands. Gently fold in one-quarter of the meringue. Add a portion of this base to each of the ramekins.
Place the remaining bread pudding in the bowl, break into pieces, and carefully fold in the rest of the meringue. Top off the soufflés with this lighter mixture. Smooth and shape tops with spoon into a dome over the ramekin rim. Place in the smoker for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Using a spoon, poke a hole in the top of each soufflé and pour the bourbon sauce inside the soufflé. Serve immediately and enjoy the sweetest treat to ever come off your grill!