Every year for Christmas, my mom and dad pulled out all the stops and took the family to Galatoire’s on Bourbon Street, one of the few places in New Orleans where a jacket is still required for the gentlemen. Galatoire’s for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner is no joke — not even Tennessee Williams could reserve a table in advance. We’d bribe someone to save our spot in line, and he or she would wait there for sometimes up to eight hours to score us a table. The men and women who crowded the parlor-like dining room were decked out with so many bobbles and flashing lights attached to their sweaters, ears, and even on top of their heads that they looked like lit-up Christmas trees. At the end of the meal, after every drop of béarnaise sauce had been mopped off our plates, out would come Galatoire’s famous banana bread pudding, made with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg and served with a whiskey raisin sauce.
Bread pudding is one of my favorite holiday traditions, and I make it for my family every holiday season. It’s great for large gatherings and potlucks because it can be made up to three days ahead of time. This chocolate version is amazing when served with salted bourbon caramel.
In New Orleans you’d make bread pudding with airy Leidenheimer French bread, but I find that brioche, challah, or even day-old croissants or king cake make for an outrageously decadent pudding (just don’t tell your momma it ain’t Leidenheimer!).
Adapted from "DamGoodSweet" by David Guas and Rachel Pelzel