Historically, cranberries have not been my thing at Thanksgiving. Am I alone in this? I doubt it. In my earlier childhood, I remember our family having the canned, gelatinous cranberry sauce on the table. The image still doesn’t settle well with me but also, the texture isn’t something I enjoy eating. As I got older, homemade cranberry sauce found its way to the Thanksgiving spread. Certainly more appetizing but still not my thing. I totally get the nostalgia of the canned stuff and I appreciate the effort in the homemade version. However, neither one gets served on my Thanksgiving table.
It might sound like I have something personal against cranberries but I don’t. I promise. In fact, I very much enjoy cranberries in other dishes. Sauce is the issue. Really, the texture of the sauce is the root of the problem. So, in a year when nostalgia is bringing more joy than ever, I’m making a cranberry dish but with my own twist. Bread pudding. Yes, friends, cranberry orange bread pudding with bourbon sauce to be exact. That cranberry flavor is there, its just in a different form. This bread pudding is absolute comfort food. It is rich and sweet but also a little bit tart from those cranberries. A beautiful balance of flavors. Serve it warm with a spoonful of the bourbon sauce and you’ll be in heaven.
Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding With Bourbon Sauce
Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding
- 4-5 croissants cut into 1"pieces (this will end up being approximately 7 cups) Croissants that are 1-2days old are ideal for this recipe
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup frozen cranberries
Orange Burboun Sauce
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the bread pudding:
- In a medium mixing bowl, soak croissant pieces in cream and milk for 10 minutes. Gently stir as needed to ensure all pieces become saturated.
- Leaving any residual cream in the bowl, transfer croissants into an 8×8 baking dish. gently stir cranberries in with croissant pieces.
- Beat sugar, orange zest, nutmeg, vanilla and salt in with cream. Pour mixture over croissants and cranberries.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes. While pudding chills, preheat oven to 350F.
- Remove from refrigerator and bake for 50 minutes.
For the bourbon sauce:
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter and sugar over medium heat.
- Whisk in cream, bourbon, orange juice and salt. Continue to stir until mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Serve sauce over bread pudding.