Goodbye gluten-free — bread pudding is back, big time! Whether it’s in the form of an ooey, gooey, boozy dessert or a hearty, savory side dish, chefs are once again embracing this classic. Here are eight interpretations of the humble, satisfying dish from a few of our favorite restaurants.
The Macintosh, Charlestown, South Carolina
With a last name like Bacon, it’s befitting that Macintosh executive chef and partner Jeremiah Bacon would eschew the sweet for a signature savory side. He compares his Bone-Marrow Bread Pudding to a “savory French toast” and says word of mouth about the popular dish regularly brings in new diners ready to try his creative, upscale American plates that also include beet panna cotta and broccolini with pickled mustard seed, fish sauce, and naval oranges. While the bread pudding was at one point just a winter entree, it became so popular he decided to serve it year-round as a side. “It is so rich that a little goes a long way — which makes it a great item to share with the table,” he says. Make a reservation at The Macintosh.
Palace Café, New Orleans
Forget the spicy gumbo — decadent dessert is just as much a staple at Palace Café, where the signature third course, white chocolate bread pudding, has been the choice of diners since the café opened in 1991. A booze-free, kid-friendly alternative, it’s safer than anything you’ll find on Bourbon Street since the raisins have been replaced with white-chocolate chunks and the whiskey sauce takes the form of white-chocolate ganache. A more adult version is available at Bourbon House (Palace’s sibling restaurant in the French Quarter), featuring chocolate banana bread pudding complete with bourbon butterscotch sauce. Their boozy brunch features bourbon French toast with the bread pudding custard, paired with an adult milk punch — a blend of milk, gelato, and Old Forester bourbon. Make a reservation at Palace Café.
White Dog Café, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
What could be more comforting than food served in a Mason jar? For pastry chef Kelly Levasseur, possibly only desserts using her grandmother’s recipes. “Growing up, my grandmother was famous for her pineapple bread pudding — everyone can relate to it, it’s a little sweet piece of home,” she says. “We want to be creative with our recipes, but at the same time keep a feeling of home and comfort.” This season, two of three White Dog Café locations offer treats straight from Grandma’s kitchen: Roasted Pineapple Bread Pudding with coconut marshmallows, crushed almonds, topped with vanilla ice cream. Make a reservation at White Dog Café.