RECIPE: Bourbon 'Bread Pudding' Ice Cream

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

For those days when you crave something equally decadent and delicious. —INGRAIN

bourbon bread pudding ice cream dessert

Comforting and reliable, but not out of the ballpark. At least that’s how we felt about bread pudding until we tasted Paul Kahan’s version at The Publican in Chicago. Ceramic terrines filled with what appeared to be the standard bread and baked custard affair appeared with Madame Rose as the finale to a multiple-course beer tasting.

When we asked the chef for the recipe, it was surprisingly standard, including the note to use “whatever leftover bread you have around.” And so we asked what the restaurant uses: leftover homemade sticky buns. Who has homemade sticky buns on hand to make bread pudding? Right. A restaurant with a fantastic pastry chef.

Thus we moved on to ice cream, essentially a custard that has been chilled instead of baked, and folded in the flavor components of a sticky bun: caramelized pecans, cinnamon, butter, maple syrup, and a little bourbon for kicks. Store-bought vanilla ice cream even works well. Just scoop, sip (a good beer), and serve.

Pairing Goose Island Madame Rose

Serves 6 to 8

3 pints good-quality vanilla ice cream, like Haagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s

About 1½ cups Bourbon Pecans (ingredients + recipe below)

Maple-bourbon butter sauce (ingredients + recipe below)


Bourbon pecans roughly. In a large bowl, mash the ice cream and the chopped pecans together and repack the ice cream into the pint containers or another large container. Freeze for at least 3 hours, until firm, or up to 3 days. If you have a large enough freezer, you can scoop the ice cream into 6 serving bowls a few hours before you plan to serve it (this helps the ice cream stay firm when you pour the warm sauce on top).


Ice cream into serving bowls if you haven’t already and nestle a few bourbon pecans on the side of each bowl. Drizzle a little warm maple-bourbon butter sauce on top and serve the ice cream post-haste.


You will have more pecans than you need for the ice cream. We don’t see that as a problem.

Makes about 2½ cups

⅓ cup bourbon

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

⅓ cup brown sugar (packed)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon kosher salt


Oven to 350°. Swipe a little butter on the bottom of a large rimmed baking sheet and line it with a Silpat mat or parchment paper. Put about 2½ cups (10 ounces) pecan halves in a medium heatproof bowl.


⅓ cup bourbon, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, ⅓ cup brown sugar (packed), ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a medium saucepan. Heat the bourbon-butter mixture over high heat until rapidly boiling and boil until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately pour the bourbon sauce over the pecans and stir everything together with a heatproof rubber spatula.


Pecans on the lined baking sheet; they will clump together a little. Bake for 8 minutes. Give the pecans a good stir around the pan and bake until the sauce is really bubbling, about 5 minutes longer. Remove the nuts from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the pecans to a glass or heatproof dish. Cool completely and store in a sealed container for up to 1 week.


1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon bourbon

⅓ cup maple syrup

HEAT 1 tablespoon each of unsalted butter and bourbon with ⅓ cup maple syrup in a small saucepan until the butter melts. Let cool slightly before pouring over the ice cream.

Grocery List: Bourbon 'Bread Pudding' Ice Cream

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