Bread pudding is generally thought of as a poor person’s dessert. But the rich New Orleans version is a thing apart, served in even the most expensive restaurants in town. This is an adaptation of my mother’s bread pudding. She topped hers with meringue. I surround mine with it, like a baked Alaska. I also like making individual puddings in muffin tins. I unmold them onto baking dishes before adding the meringue and toasting it until browned.