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Buttery Bread Pudding & Soaking Sauce

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This homey dessert rarely appears in cookbooks, on TV cooking shows, or on restaurant menus. Its method is typically passed from generation to generation, and of course the recipe was never written down. It’s very regional and most say it came out of the kitchens of some wonderful African-American cooks in Memphis over a hundred years ago. If you’ve never had it, you might compare it to a bread pudding, but that would be like comparing a cubic zirconium to the Hope Diamond. It is a rich, decadent, saucy dessert that could be served in any of the finest restaurants in Paris, and is guaranteed to make your eyes roll back in your head with the first spoonful!

This is the recipe that my long-time friend Stan Gibson shared with me. He learned to cook it standing by an older lady in her kitchen in Memphis and then translated her ‘spoonfuls and just enough of this and that’ into a recipe that we can all enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups Pioneer Biscuit Mix or equivalent baking mix (alternatively, you can use 6 cups flour, 3 tablespoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, blended together in a food processor or blender with 3/4 cup chilled, unsalted butter cut into very small pieces)
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter

Soaking Sauce:

  • 1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
  • 3 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

Combine the biscuit mix (or the blended flour mixture) with the half-and-half to make a dough. You may not need all the half-and-half. Roll the dough out in a rectangle 13 inches long by 10 inches wide and sprinkle with sugar and nutmeg. Place tablespoons of butter down the middle of the rectangle and roll up along the longer side, sealing the ends. Place in a buttered 10 x 13-inch baking pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until browned.

In a saucepan, combine the condensed milk, cream, vanilla, and nutmeg, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk in the 4 tablespoons of butter until melted. Pour this soaking sauce over the baked butter roll and let rest for 1 hour until most of the liquid is absorbed. To serve, cut the butter roll into slices 2 to 3 inches thick. Place each slice on a plate and spoon the soaking liquid over each serving.

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