This soda bread pudding is the definition of comfort food. Soaked in milk, cream, coffee, and whiskey then topped with a whiskey caramel. It is perfect right out of the oven with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.
I love this kind of bread pudding because it is a little different than what you would normally find as dessert. This is one of those bread pudding recipes that screams decadence but is so easy to make. The coffee and whiskey take center stage in this dessert and a fantastic way to end a meal. All you need is a good loaf of Irish soda bread and you are ready to go. Whether you need a dessert for St. Patrick’s Day or just want something a bit different this is the way to go.
In this recipe
The best part of this recipe is that there are really only two main parts and the caramel will be ready by the time the bread pudding is done cooking.
Soda bread: the base for this bread pudding, while you can use other breads this one will a little more dense than a regular brioche or French bread. Allowing it to hold more liquid.
Coffee: both cold coffee and espresso powder will kick up the flavor that will pair perfectly with the whiskey
Irish whiskey: use a good whiskey, one that you will want to have in your Irish coffee or just to sip on.
Using day old bread
You want to use day old bread so it will absorb all of the egg mixture. However, ff you are using fresh soda bread instead of day old you will want to dry it out a little bit. To do this cut the bread into cubes or tear into small pieces and bake at 250 for 30 minutes. This will allow the bread to absorb all of the liquid they will be soaking in. That will give the nice tender bread pudding you will expect.
Making whiskey caramel sauce
Making caramel isn’t as scary as it sounds. One of the important things to be aware of though that it is going to get VERY hot. If you have a candy thermometer it will be helpful but not necessary. The water is used to dissolve the sugar and as the it evaporates the sugar will darken in color. When the liquid starts to boil be careful about stirring it.
Don't stir the caramel
The reason you do not want to stir is that if there is a single grain of sugar on the spatula it can trigger the whole thing to seize. If this happens you will need to start again. If you notice in one of my photos that the caramelization doesn’t form evenly. To mix the caramel gently swirl the pan. This will help to keep the caramel from seizing.
Finishing the soda bread pudding
From there the cream and whiskey will add a considerable amount of liquid back to the sauce which will thin it out. It will need to cook some more for that liquid to boil out. A little trick I like to do is to add all but 2 tablespoons of the whiskey when adding the cream. Then I will let it thicken and remove from the heat. When the caramel has cooled and it quite thick warm it up just a little bit and add the rest of the whiskey. That way there is a hint of the alcohol left. Then pour over the bread pudding.
Looking for other Irish recipes?
Soda Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel
- Mixing Bowl
- Cast iron skillet seasoned
- 1 loaf Irish soda bread
- 4 eggs
- 1¼ cups whole milk
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup coffee cold
- ¼ cup Irish whiskey
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- ½ tablespoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Irish Whiskey Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream room temperature
- ⅓ cup Irish whiskey divided
- ¼ cup water
- 4 tablespoons butter unsalted, softened
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Making the bread pudding
- In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs and egg yolk until combined. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, espresso powder, salt, coffee, and whiskey. Then whisk in the milk until all is blended.
- In a mixing bowl add the bread cubes, pour the egg mixture on top, and toss until all is coated. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to allow the bread to absorb all of the milk mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, 177°C, or gas mark 4.
- Pour the soda bread into the seasoned cast iron skillet. Bake for 35 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.
Making the caramel sauce
- In a saucepan on medium-high heat add the sugar and water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved stop stirring. This could cause the caramel to seize. Allow to boil undisturbed until the caramel starts to take on a rich amber color. To mix gently swirl the saucepan. Once all of the sugar has started to change to a caramel color.
- Add the cream and this will cause a violent bubbling reaction, just keep stirring. After the caramel boiling has reduced remove from the heat and add all but 2 tablespoons of the whiskey. This will boil violently again as the alcohol cooks out. Return to the heat and cook for 2 minutes.
- Once the caramel sauce has started to thicken remove from the heat again. Once the sauce is almost to room temperature, add the remaining whiskey and whisk until combined.
- Drizzle over the warm bread pudding to serve.