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GoNOLA Recipes at Home: Brendan’s Bread Pudding by John Besh

Try this recipe for New Orleans chef John Besh’s delicious Brendan’s Bread Pudding named after his son for a classic New Orleans dessert.

Bread pudding is one of the most beloved New Orleans desserts, and there are a million and one ways to make it. Over the years, we have featured a few different takes on this sweet treat, but when world-famous chef and restaurateur John Besh recently featured his recipe for Brendan’s Bread Pudding on his website, we had to share it with all of you. The recipe is so named for Besh’s son, Brendan, who loves to make this bread pudding. Get fancy in the kitchen and wow your family and friends with this decadent, gourmet dessert.

Besh also offers a pro tip for preparing his bread pudding: “Because all stale French breads aren’t created equal, you might need to add more milk, as dry bread keeps absorbing liquid.” Happy cooking!

Brendan’s Bread Pudding by John Besh (photo by Susan Whelan)


For the bread pudding

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Grated zest of one orange
  • 11 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups stale French bread, small diced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the sauce

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the candied almonds

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup sugar


1. For the bread pudding, preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, orange zest, and eggs into a large bowl. Stir in the bread cubes and soak them for 30 minutes. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and pour mixture into it. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes.
2. For the sauce, melt the butter in a medium sauce-pan over moderate heat, until it turns a light brown color, with a rich, hazelnut aroma, about 5 minutes. Add the corn syrup, sugar, rum, cream, salt and vanilla. Reduce the sauce until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. For the candied almonds, mix the almonds, egg white, and sugar together in a bowl. Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350° oven until golden brown, 15-18 minutes.. Stir nuts every 4-5 minutes to ensure that they bake evenly.
4. To serve, scoop a large spoonful of warm bread pudding onto each of 10 plates. Pour the buttered rum sauce over the pudding and scatter candied almonds over the top.

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