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Caramel Praline Bread Pudding

Caramel Praline Bread Pudding
If you’re asking yourself “what’s a praline?”, you’re not alone! Pralines are a fancy name for sugared pecans, and you can find them just about everywhere in southern cooking. What makes this recipe particularly enticing is the homemade salted caramel sauce on top that you’re going to want to save for use in other recipes!
  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • Bread Pudding
  • 1 (1-pound) loaf brioche or challah bread (see notes)
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salted Caramel Sauce
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into chunks
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon large flake sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Topping
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups coarsely chopped pecans

Directions

  1. For the bread pudding: Cut the brioche into 1-inch cubes and let dry on the counter overnight or toast lightly in a 200°F oven for 5 minutes.
  2. Coat a deep 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place the bread in the dish. In a large bowl, whisk the half-and-half and eggs until smooth. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and stir to combine. Pour over the bread cubes, toss lightly to coat the bread, and let stand for 1 hour, gently stirring once or twice.
  3. For the salted caramel sauce: In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Immediately reduce to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Let cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the bourbon, if using, sea salt, and vanilla. Set aside to thicken.
  4. For the topping: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and salt with 2 forks or a pastry blender until you create large crumbles. Stir in the pecans and spread over the top of the bread mixture. Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Gently reheat the caramel sauce, if necessary, drizzle over the bread pudding, and serve.

Notes:

This is best made with a sweet, eggy bread such as brioche or challah. If unavailable, use Hawaiian bread or a similar bread if possible.

The caramel sauce needs to be made slightly ahead to cool and thicken, and can be made hours ahead of time, covered and refrigerated, and gently reheated. The recipe makes 1½ cups of sauce.

Refrigerate any leftover sauce to drizzle over ice cream or other desserts.

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