My Oma would make semmelauflauf whenever she collected enough uneaten heels from her home-baked bread, about 12. (I didn’t think anyone ate the heels until I met my husband. He doesn’t anymore because I feed them to the geese.) Loosely translated semmelauflauf means bread roll casserole. You might recognize it as bread pudding.
I forgot about this German comfort food until a recent trip to a Tennessee Distillery. After tasting the various labels offered one stood out due to the subtle vanilla overtones which had me thinking about trying it in a caramel sauce. Then my Oma’s semmelauflauf came to mind.
I do not keep uneaten heels around but, I do have stale bagels on hand. I always think I love bagels until I buy a bag and realize I only half-heartedly like bagels. So, in my version of semmelauflauf, I am using stale cranberry bagels.
You do not have to use stale bread by the way. Fresh bread is fine, but if you have stale bread this is the perfect way to use it instead of throwing it out.
Start by soaking some raisins in the whiskey for an hour.
Place cubed bagels into a large bowl and cover with warm milk. Just zap it in the microwave for a few seconds. Stir gently. Let sit about 10 minutes to absorb the milk. In another bowl mix some sugar, eggs, nutmeg, and melted butter. Add to soaked bread but do not stir yet.
Drain the raisins, reserving the whiskey for the sauce, add to bread, and gently stir. Let stand for half an hour. You may skip this step if you are running low on time, but allowing the mixture to sit will soak up the flavors.
Grease 6 custard cups and add pudding.
Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
While the pudding is cooling make the Caramel Whiskey Sauce. Using a heavy saucepan, stir together some sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup of the reserved whiskey. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling.
Stop stirring completely and allow it to boil undisturbed until it turns a deep amber. Immediately remove from the heat and slowly and carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel.
Stir until smooth and all lumps are dissolved. Stir in some butter. Allow the sauce to cool 3 minutes then add the vanilla.
Drizzle the sauce over warm pudding and enjoy! – Ella
• 1/2 cup raisins
• 1/2 cup whiskey
• 1 loaf French bread, cut into small pieces (or bagels, or heels, etc.)
• 11/2 cup warm milk
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
• 2 tsp nutmeg
• 2 Tbsp butter, melted
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon corn syrup
• 1/4 liquid cup whiskey
• 1/2 cup heavy cream, heated
• 2 tablespoons butter, softened
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- To make the pudding:
- In a small bowl soak the raisins in the whiskey for an hour.
- Place bread into bowl and pour milk over. Stir gently and let sit about 10 minutes to absorb the liquid.
- In a large bowl, mix the sugar, eggs, nutmeg, and melted butter. Gently stir in milk-soaked bread and drained raisins, reserving the whiskey for the sauce. Let stand for 30 minutes or more to allow the flavors to blend.
- Preheat the oven to 375° and grease six custard cups. Spoon the pudding into the dishes and bake about 25 – 30 minutes, until top is nicely browned.
- Remove from oven and let cool. To make the sauce:
- While the pudding cools make the caramel whiskey sauce.
- In a heavy saucepan, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and whiskey until the sugar is completely moistened. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring completely and allow it to boil undisturbed until it turns a deep amber. Immediately remove from the heat and slowly and carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel. Note: it will start bubbling.
- Using a wooden spoon stir the mixture until smooth, scraping up the thicker part that settles on the bottom. If any lumps develop, return the pan to the heat and stir until they dissolve. Stir in the butter. The mixture will be streaky but become uniform after cooling slightly and stirring.
- Allow the sauce to cool for 3 minutes. Gently stir in the vanilla extract.