There are only a few cowboy cooks left in the U.S., and Kent Rollins is one of them. Along with his wife (photographer Shannon Keller Rollins), he offers sizzling steaks and down-home philosophy to the cowboys who herd cattle and show up mighty hungry at the Rollins' 1876 Studebaker chuck wagon.
The following recipe is from Rollins' recently published cookbook, "A Taste of Cowboy: Ranch Recipes and Tales from the Trail" by Kent Rollins and Shannon Rollins (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
If you have to choose just one thing to make in this cookbook, this is it. I can't believe I'm even giving y'all this recipe! I have kept it a secret in my back pocket for many years, not even sharing it with my own family. I was cooking for a rodeo in Biloxi, Mississippi, when we went to a restaurant that had the best bread pudding I'd ever eaten. I called the chef out to try to get the recipe. Turned out he was a sourdough biscuit fan, so I tried to swap recipes with him, but he must have been a horse trader from way back, because he didn't give in. It took me years to re-create it, and I think I like it even better than his. My version has a cinnamon French-toast flavor with a dense consistency. Typically bread pudding is used with old bread, but I use hamburger buns, which give it a fresher, lighter taste.
Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Makes about 12 servings
2 cups milk
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon, or more to taste
1 teaspoon nutmeg, or more to taste
10 regular-sized hamburger buns
Whiskey Cream Sauce (recipe follows)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter an 8-x-11-inch baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, sugar, and eggs until smooth. Slowly whisk in the butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. If you like the flavor of nutmeg, you can add a few more shakes.
3. Tear a bun into approximately 1-inch pieces and add to the wet mixture. Repeat, using half of the buns.
4. Mash the buns with a spoon into the wet mixture until moistened. Tear the remaining buns and add to the mixture. Mash until combined, but don't mash them so much that the mixture turns to mush. The bread should be completely moistened with some bun pieces still retaining most of their shape. Taste the mixture and add more cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired. Scrape the mixture into the baking pan.
5. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the pudding is sponge-like and springs back when touched in the middle. Feel free to make a judgment call on the baking time. You don't want it to bake completely through like a cake; remember it's bread pudding. You can err on the side of not cooking the pudding quite as long, because it will set up a little more after it cools.
6. Drizzle or drench with Whiskey Cream Sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Whiskey Cream Sauce
The bread pudding is really just an excuse to taste this. In fact some of you may want to scratch the pudding and head straight for the sauce! My friend Chris Morton calls it "Goes Over Sauce" 'cause it will go over nearly anything and make it good.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 6 minutes
Makes about 3 cups
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
2 cups heavy cream
¼ to ½ cup whiskey
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
Tip: If you like the whiskey taste, do not bring the sauce to a boil. Instead, simply allow the mixture to warm through and serve.
More recipes from Kent Rollins:
- All-Night Sourdough Pancakes
- Green Pepper Frito Pie
- Sparklin' Taters
- Throwdown-Winning Chicken-Fried Steak
Recipes and photography from "A Taste of Cowboy: Ranch Recipes and Tales from the Trail" by Kent Rollins. Copyright © 2015 by Kent Rollins and Shannon Rollins. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
For more info:
- "A Taste of Cowboy: Ranch Recipes and Tales from the Trail" by Kent Rollins (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- Follow @Kent_Rollins on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube