How They Made It: Bread Pudding for Fraser’s Ridge Family Dinner
Welcome back to our occasional series, “How They Made It,” where we explore the food and drink of Outlander. It’s time for family dinner at Fraser’s Ridge, featuring bread pudding. Slainté!
Well, Outlander Season 4 is coming to a close, and our heroes are scattered all about the colonies. As I write this, Jamie, Claire and Young Ian (wee Ian?) are hot on the trail to retrieve Roger somewhere in New York, Brianna and Lord John are at River Run after visiting Stephen Bonnet, and Fergus and Marsali are heading to Fraser’s Ridge with Murtagh.
Ahh…I long for those early days at Fraser’s Ridge when the Frasers gathered around the table for those wonderful family dinners. Doesn’t it seem just yesterday that we were baking Sourdough Spice Cake along with Claire? My how the season has flown by. So in one last attempt to delay the dreaded Droughtlander, let’s look at another dish Claire might have served at those family gatherings…bread pudding. But not just any bread pudding (after all, Jamie’s still is up and running, and maybe some of that spirit has been aged just a bit) – let’s make Cherry Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Maple Butterscotch Whisky Sauce.
There are any number of recipes for bread pudding available online, but the concept is simple; basically, it is stale bread soaked in an egg and cream custard, then baked until the custard sets. I adapted my recipe below from the one found in the Outlander Kitchen Cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders, but I also looked at many other sources as well. As for the choice of mix-ins, maybe the Frasers would have used different ingredients (and probably not chocolate), but they’d have used some aspects of dried fruits, nuts and flavorings such as molasses and maple. After all, bread pudding is so easily customizable, so I took a little liberty with the mix-ins I used. Creativity in the kitchen is a plus, people!
Cherry Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Maple Butterscotch Whisky Sauce
Adapted from Outlander Kitchen Cookbook Jem’s Bread Pudding with Maple Butterscotch Sauce, p286 (but lots of other sources as well)
- 1 loaf (16 oz, 450g) French bread, cubed (about 8-10 cups)
- 1 cup (5 1/2 oz, 160g) dried cherries, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup (4 oz, 113g) pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 12 oz package chocolate chunks
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 1 sticks) butter, melted
- 1 cup (6 1/2 oz, 185g) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup scotch whisky (optional, but of course I used it! Make sure whatever you use is good quality and something you’d like to drink)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, scraped, if you’ve got one handy)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (I liked the addition of nutmeg and cloves, but you can leave it out if you want)
- 1/8 tsp cloves (^^^)
- 2 cups milk (I used 1%, but any type will do)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 1 stick) butter
- 1/2 cup (3 1/4 oz, 92g) dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup scotch whisky (optional, see note above)
- 1 cup heavy cream, warmed (45 seconds in the microwave on HIGH will do)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Move rack to middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 2-inch deep 13-inch x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.
- Make the Bread Pudding: In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, dried cherries, chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup of the pecans. Add the melted butter and toss to coat evenly.
- In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add brown sugar, maple syrup, whisky, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and whisk until combined. Whisk in milk and cream. Pour into bread mixture and mix well. Let sit at least 30 minutes for custard to soak into the bread cubes.
- Pour bread mixture into the buttered baking dish and top with remaining pecans. Bake 40-60 minutes, or until golden brown and custard is almost set (it will finish setting as it cools). Remove from oven and let cool at least 30 minutes.
- Make the Butterscotch Sauce: While the bread pudding is baking, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and stir until smooth. Bring to boil and cook 5 minutes. Stir in whisky (mixture will sizzle) and cook about 30 seconds, then stir in warmed cream and salt. Bring back to boil and cook and stir 1 minute, then remove from heat and let cool.
- To serve: If needed, reheat bread pudding until warm. Drizzle sauce on, then plate and serve with additional sauce on the side.
- Bread Pudding can be frozen after baking (make sure the baking dish is freezer safe). Cool completely, then wrap well with a double layer of plastic wrap, then a double layer of foil, and freeze. Defrost in refrigerator overnight, then warm in oven before serving. Frozen bread pudding will keep 2-3 months
- The Butterscotch Sauce will separate upon standing, but dinna fash…just reheat it gently, either in a water bath (place the jar in a pot of simmering water) or in short bursts in the microwave on a low power setting, then stir
- You can alter the mix-ins – I used dried cherries and chocolate chips, but you can use raisins, fresh or dried apples, apricots or any other fruit you’d like. Vary the nuts (how about almonds or walnuts?) or leave them out, use toffee or butterscotch chips for the chocolate or leave that out, too. It’s totally customizable and up to you!
As I go live with this post, I’m planning on serving this bread pudding to the Outlander Cast staff at a get-together before the finale party on Sunday. However, I did sample the whiskey sauce…rich, creamy with flavors of good Highland scotch (in this case, The Balvenie DoubleWood 12yr, something I served with Southern Brown Sugar Pie at the Season 4 premiere party I attended…good times). I poured the sauce on coffee ice cream…divine! So even though Droughtlander is almost here (waaaaa!!!), we can commiserate together with a big helping of bread pudding (and perhaps a wee dram of scotch). Droughtlander won’t last forever, and Season 5 is coming…J’est Sui Prest and Tulard Ard!
Are you planning an Outlander finale watching party? What are you planning to serve?
Discovering Outlander after Season 1 first aired, Tammy quickly went down the rabbit-hole on social media and podcasts and found a world of like-minded fans who not only tolerated her obsession, but encouraged the madness! She combined her Outlander-inspired interest for scotch whisky with her continuing passion for baking and storytelling in her blog, Scotch & Scones…Explorations in a glass and in the oven. Joining the staff of Outlander Cast as the resident baker has brought Tammy full circle, from a podcast fan to a contributing writer. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest at @scotch_scones, and find her on Facebook at @scotchandsconesblog.