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Cook the Book: Rhubarb Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

While the bounty of spring greens has been plentiful at local farmers' markets, the selection of fruit is still limited mostly to apples and rumors of a few stray strawberries (I'll believe it when I see it). But for those of you who want to bake a seasonally inspired dessert, there's plenty of rhubarb to be had. This recipe for Rhubarb Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce will satisfy your urges until the strawberries arrive.

Adapted from Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, I was skeptical at first about the inclusion of tart rhubarb into a dessert that is usually simply sweet. But as it turns out, the slightly sour rhubarb does wonders when matched with eggy, cinnamony raisin bread and a whiskey spiked sauce.

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I made mine using the leftovers from a loaf of Raisin Walnut Bread with a dense crumb that ended up being the perfect bread pudding bread. Once the cubes of day old bread were soaked in a milk, egg, and vanilla bath and mixed with cinnamon sugar-dusted rhubarb, the bread pudding baked up beautifully. The bread softened but didn't bread down into mush, and the chunks of rhubarb added a tart brightness that broke up the monotony that I sometimes suffer from when faced with a giant serving of bread pudding. The whiskey sauce is the proverbial icing on the cake, not really necessary but man, was it delicious, especially for dipping the crusty edges of the bread pudding.

Win Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods to give away this week.

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