Cherry Bourbon Cinnamon Bread Pudding

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I am not a fan of bread pudding. I find it soggy and texturally boring. This will probably cause you to question why I’m trying to bake it. I’m trying to bake it because there is one exception to my dislike of bread pudding, and that is the butterscotch bread pudding at Eastern Standard. Moist, but not soggy with an almost crunchy crust and veins of intense butterscotch flavor winding their way through it, it’s everything I imagine bread pudding should be but rarely is.

I have never tried to replicate it, because it’s hard to replicate a recipe for something you aren’t well-versed in making. Replication requires duplication and modification of technique. I don’t know bread pudding technique well enough to even begin to figure out how to tweak it to make it taste like the one at ES. And since I dislike the majority of bread pudding, I wasn’t keen on the idea of eating the leftovers or wasting the ingredients.

That is, until I was stuck with a stale $7 loaf of cinnamon babka.  It looked so promising when I bought it at the Golden Goose – brioche-style bread, tightly rolled around layers and layers of cinnamon. But it was stale. Or just dry. And the cinnamon had a harsh, unpleasant spicy note. Since it’s destination was my garbage can anyway, I figured the bread pudding was worth a shot.

After scouring the internet and reading multiple recipes, I cobbled together the following recipe. It’s somewhat  loosely adapted from the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook. But it’s a lot smaller than theirs and also pulls in elements from a variety of other recipes.

Cinnamon Bourbon Cherry Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce


  • 4.5 cups of cinnamon bread cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 stick of butter (6 Tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten (2 if they are really big)
  • 1/2 cup Chukar totally tart cherries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon

 For the caramel sauce (recipe here):

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 5 2/3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Cut bread into cubes.

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  1. Soak the cherries in the bourbon,

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  1. Beat together eggs, half and half, vanilla, and salt.

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  1. Add it to the bread


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  1. Toast the pecans.

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  1. Chop the pecans

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  1. Chop the soaked cherries.

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  1. Add them to the bread/milk/egg mixture. Normally you want to let this mixture soak together for 15 – 30 minutes, but this bread collapsed and lost its shape so fast that I didn’t wait.

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  1. Put the mixture into a well buttered, deep pan. I used a glass 10″ pie dish.

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  1. Put the dish onto a cookie tray and cover it with foil. Bake at 350 F for 55 minutes with the foil on, then remove foil and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes without the foil. While it bakes, make the caramel sauce.

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  1. Remove from oven and cool on rack for at least 15 minutes before cutting so that the custard has time to set.

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  1. Serve with a drizzle (or 6) of caramel sauce.

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Unfortunately it didn’t taste like the one at ES at all. It was still very custardy. The taste was quite nice, but the texture was still too uniform and soft for me.

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