Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chocolate Bread Pudding

I. Love. Bread Pudding.

So, naturally, I was thrilled to see this recipe from Elyssa. It even reminded me that I have a few bread pudding recipes to post of my own. Elyssa points out the flexibility of bread pudding, being able to do many stages in advance, "The first time I made it, I did it in 3 days (toasting bread the 1st night, making custard and soaking the bread the 2nd, and baking/serving the 3rd night.)" So, here is Elyssa's recipe. Enjoy!

Chocolate Bread Pudding


1 loaf (1 to 1 1/2 pounds) challah
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) whole milk
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) heavy whipping cream
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used a mixture of both bitter and semi sweet chocolate)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) sugar
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325°F and position an oven rack in the center. Lightly butter the cake pan/baking dish (9 by 2-inch round or ceramic baking/casserole dish).

Toast the Bread: Use the serrated knife to cut away the crust from all sides of the bread. If you are using challah which is braided, just do the best you can and don’t worry about the bits of crust in the crevices of the braid. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread the cubes on the baking sheet and toast in the over for 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Measure out 4 cups of bread cubes and place them in the prepared cake pan. Transfer the remaining bread cubes to a resealable plastic bag and set aside for another use. [You can do this step on the first day if you want. Day old bread tends to soak the custard in a little better. But you can also do this the same day as the custard]

Make the custard: Heat the milk and cream in the medium saucepan over medium heat just until the mixture simmers. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for 1 minute, then whisk vigorously to blend the chocolate into the mixture.

Temper the eggs: Whisk the eggs, yolk, sugar, and salt in the medium bowl to blend thoroughly. Pour about ½ cup of the chocolate mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Once blended, whisk in another ½ cup. Then slowly pour the rest of the chocolate mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly.

Soak the bread cubes: Pour the custard through a strainer over the bread in the baking dish. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and press down gently so that all the bread cubes are soaked with the custard. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. This gives the bread cubes plenty of time to soak up the chocolate custard, turning them from white to a deep chocolate brown color throughout. Every once in awhile, remove the plastic and gently stir the mixture, then return to the fridge.

Bake and Serve the Bread Pudding: Preheat the over to 325°F and position an oven rack in the center. Remove the plastic wrap from the pan and bake the pudding for about 60-75 minutes, until the center is set. To check, use a spoon to press down firmly in the center of the pan. The pudding is done when the center feels firm and no loose custard bubbles up around the spoon. Transfer to a rack to cool for about 15-20 minutes, then cut the warm pudding and serve. Top w/ a spoonful of whipped cream or caramel sauce if you want.

Note: The bread pudding can be baked up to 2 days in advance. Cool to room temp, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Reheat in a 325°F oven for 20-25 minutes, until heated through.

[Photo by CatalogThis, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.]

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