Sunday, August 9, 2015

Ellen Byron's Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding #bookgiveaway #recipe

Mystery Lovers' Kitchen welcomes Ellen Byron, whose first novel, PLANTATION SHUDDERS: A Cajun Country Mystery, will be published August 11 by Crooked Lane Books.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of PLANTATION SHUDDERS!

 One of my first jobs out of college was working as a cater-waiter for an up-and-coming Connecticut food maven named Martha Stewart. I’ll never forget the first time I met her. I took the train from Manhattan to Westport, cabbed to a house that looked straight out of the 18th century, and stepped into a living room filled with early American antiques. A woman was using a crème brulee blowtorch to assemble a three-foot-high gingerbread townhouse that sat on a table in the middle of the room. “Hi, I’m Martha,” she said without losing focus on her task. “Welcome. The kitchen’s on the left.”

Thus began a two-year relationship that earned me a few photos in a book called “Entertaining,” and wonderful memories of an extraordinary woman.

That's the young Ellen, second from the left, next to Martha. 

As I wrote my first book, Plantation Shudders: A Cajun Country Mystery, it became clear that I couldn’t set a series in an area so famous for its cuisine without including a few recipes. I decided to make up my own, which proved really hard. I was ready to give up. But then I thought, WWMD? What would Martha Do?  She’d power through until she was satisfied with the results. I watched her do it at event after event. So that’s what I did. My favorite of the three I created is Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding. It’s very boozy and very New Orleans. Thanks for inspiring me, Martha! I hope I get to share the recipe with you someday.


5-6 cups croissants, torn into pieces
½ cup unsalted, toasted, chopped pecans
3 large eggs
¾ cups sugar, white or turbinado – your choice
1 cup milk – any percentage is fine
1/3 cup Bourbon, plus 1 teaspoon 
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Dry bread uncovered at room temperature for 12 hours.  (You can also dry the bread in a 250 degree oven for one hour.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter an 8” x 8” baking dish

Arrange the bread in the dish. Sprinkle the pecans over the bread, making sure they’re evenly dispersed.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk, 1/3 cup bourbon, cream, vanilla, and salt. 

Pour it slowly and evenly over the bread. 

Cream the butter with the brown sugar and teaspoon of bourbon, then dot the pudding with the mixture.

(Note: you can chill the pudding, covered, for anywhere from an hour to a day before baking, but this is optional.)

Bake the pudding in the middle of the oven until it’s slightly puffed and golden, and the middle has set – approximately 40 minutes.

You can top with a dollop of whipped cream, ice cream, or hard sauce, but I like it straight up!

Serves 6.

Leave a comment below by midnight, Mon, Aug 10, for a chance to win Ellen's PLANTATION SHUDDERS prize package, including a signed copy of the book, an alligator cookie cutter, and beads for your next Mardi Gras party! 

For more about Ellen and PLANTATION SHUDDERS, visit her website -- -- and sign up for her newsletter! 


  1. Oh, my bourbon...pecans...bread pudding! I have to try that recipe...immediately! Thank you for the review. I've been very drawn to "cozy" mysteries set in the south. They seem to have a unique style. This book is a "must read."

  2. Love the backstory behind the book and recipe! Wow!

  3. Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding looks so yummy! Plantation Shudders sounds like a great mystery book. Thank you for the recipe and giveaway.

  4. The recipe looks great. I have not had bread pudding before.
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  5. I think my husband would flip out over that bread pudding recipe. How cool that you got to work for Martha Stewart! I've made a few of her recipes & they were great. This book sounds like a winner. New Orleans is mysterious anyway so always a good place to set a mystery. Add a plantation house & I had to add it to my TBR list. Good luck with your series!

  6. What a neat history you have! I agree that sometimes it's best to just power through until you get the desired results. :-) I'm adding your recipe to my "to make" list (thanks!), and congratulations on the new release!

  7. Love bread pudding. Need to give this recipe a try.

  8. This sounds like an interesting story.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  9. Interesting history! Congrats on PLANTATION SHUDDERS: A Cajun Country Mystery. Love the title.

  10. Ellen, I LOVE that story--so amazing that you had the chance to work with MS. And the book and pudding look divine--congratulations!

    1. Thanks so much, Lucy (Roberta ;-) - I love your books!

  11. That recipe sounds so yummy! I can't wait to read the book. Sounds good.

  12. That sounds like a delicious recipe. I'm looking forward to checking out this new book too. Thank you!

  13. WoW, love the recipe. Looks like a good cozy mystery.


  14. That sounds so good it's making my teeth hurt! (That's a good thing.) But I don't have bourbon in the house--you think Irish whiskey would work? Most of it comes from the south of Ireland. (You don't need to enter me in the drawing.)

    1. Oh, I'm sure Irish whiskey would work. If you make it with the whiskey, LMK how it turns out!

  15. The recipe sounds so yummy! I can't wait to read the book. Thank you for this opportunity!

  16. What a wonderful story and recipe. Thanks for the chance to win.

  17. This looks amazing. Another recipe for future use.

  18. I think Martha would definitely approve! What a great giveaway!

  19. Sounds good. The recipe & the book.

  20. I've never been fond of bread puddings, but this one actually sounds like something I might try! =) Although I don't drink, I love bourbon infused things like this, and with the added pecans.... yum yum. Those two things win! :)

  21. Plantation Shudders sounds like a fun new book!

  22. Welcome to Mystery Lover's Kitchen, Ellen. I'm so impressed that you worked with Martha way back when. Love the picture. I never would have recognized her!