Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baking: Chocolate Bread Pudding

Many times when I buy fresh bread, I don't finish it. And because fresh bread tends to go stale quicker, I have to find alternative ways to work with it before it goes bad. Normally, I find something savory to make like dressing or a savory bread pudding. This time, however, I wanted to make something sweet. And chocolate bread pudding was at the top of my list.


The leftover bread I had was a rustic Italian loaf that was crusty and very yeasty. This is not the optimal bread to use for a sweet bread pudding. In fact, you should probably use brioche, croissant, or challah bread instead. But I used what I have on hand. And this Italian loaf was going to become a chocolate dessert.
As all sweet bread puddings go, this one also had a custard filling. Here I whisked together half and half, sugar, salt, chopped chocolate, and vanilla on top of the stove until melted and homogeneous.
Take the chocolate mixture off the heat and whisk in the eggs slowly. You don't want scrambled eggs in your bread pudding, do you?
Then pour the chocolate custard over the bread making sure to cover every piece.
Then let it soak for a bit while pressing down on the bread once in awhile.
Lastly, I dotted the top of the pudding with cubed butter and mini chocolate chips. Into the oven with a water bath at 325oF for about an hour until the edge is set but the center is still soft. Remove and let cool slightly. Serve warm. Best with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The result is something pretty chocolaty and soft. The crusts of the bread added a bit of bitterness to the dish but not in a bad way. It kind of balanced it out a bit. I enjoyed the chewiness of the bread but ultimately thought that brioche would have been better used here. I saved the leftovers (leftovers of leftovers?!) in the freezer. I scooped out portions into a muffin pan and froze the whole tray lined with plastic wrap. Then I removed the individual sized bread pudding and placed them all in a zip top plastic bag. They defrost pretty easily in the microwave.

Recipe below is adapted from epicurious.com's recipe for Chocolate Bread Pudding

Chocolate Bread Pudding
Makes 8 servings
Ingredients
4 cups day old croissant, brioche, or challah bread
3 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, plus more for buttering

8 oz mini chocolate chips (optional)
vanilla ice cream to garnish (optional)
Directions
1. Butter a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish. Put bread in dish.
2. Heat half-and-half, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warmed. Add chocolate and vanilla.. Whisk until smooth. Do not let it boil.
3. Remove from heat and let stand 2 minutes. In the meantime, lightly beat eggs. Then add slowly to warm chocolate mixture while whisking. Pour mixture over bread in baking dish and let soak at room temperature for about 1 hour. Occasionally, press bread down using large spoon.
4. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.

5. Dot top of pudding with butter bits and mini chocolate chips. Bake in a hot water bath until edge is set but center is still soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool slightly. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man. This sounds great. CHOCOLATE! I'd eat it for breakfast. Double droooollzzzz.

    ReplyDelete

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