Inspired by the savory bread pudding I made for brunch recently, I started thinking about the dessert kind. I never make bread pudding. What would be the best, richest, most decadent bread pudding I could make?
Well, the truth, Fellow FoodBeest, is I almost always prefer savory to sweet. I’d eat bread (slathered with butter, of course) over cake any day. The exception being chocolate. What about chocolate bread pudding?
Bread pudding is a dish that was born in the 13th century. Known as “poor man’s pudding,” housewives and cooks who couldn’t afford to waste anything, created it as a means of salvaging stale bread. The bread was soaked in milk or water, then sugar, butter, fruit, and/or spices were added, and then it was baked.
Today’s bread pudding is a trendy comfort food that creative chefs outdo each other to make with exotic ingredients, rich sauces and extravagant platings.
This is killer, Fellow FoodBeest. I’m not sure if it was the richness of the chocolate or the addition of Kahlua, but it didn’t take much to seduce both me and Mr. FB into a very contented food coma after an otherwise light and healthy dinner. I don’t recommend eating this very often. but it’s sure worth an occasional indulgence.
I feel a little better because I accidentally grabbed a whole wheat baguette. When I first cut it and discovered my mistake my first thought was disappointment. My second thought was relief. I could call this healthy. LOL! Why not?
What You Need to Make Decadent Chocolate Bread Pudding
1 day-old baguette (about 12 inches), cut into bite-sized pieces no more than ½ -inch. (3-4 cups)
[challah or a brioche loaf would be wonderful substitutions]
1 C milk
½ C half-and-half
½ C coffee-flavored liqueur like Kahlua (optional)
1 C sugar
1/4 t salt
5 oz good-quality semi-sweet (or bittersweet) chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 t vanilla
1 T unsalted butter, cut into bits
Accompaniment: unsweetened whipped cream (although, frankly, no one will be upset if it’s slightly sweetened)
How to Make Decadent Chocolate Bread Pudding
Generously butter (or spray with cooking spray) a 2½ – to 3-quart soufflé or baking dish. Put the bread in the soufflé dish.
If you want – if you dare – you can sprinkle the bread chunks with additional chocolate pieces at this point. Mix some in for a chocolate/chocolate chip concoction. It results in a richer, more chocolately dessert: something I would never shy away from. I was out of the fancy chocolate so I just used some semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Gently heat the milk, half-and-half, sugar, and salt over low heat, stirring, until the sugar and salt are dissolved and the mixture is hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and add chocolate, liqueur, and vanilla. Let stand two minutes. Whisk until smooth.
Lightly beat eggs together in a large bowl and slowly add chocolate mixture, whisking until combined. Pour mixture over bread and let soak at room temperature, pressing bread down occasionally, 1 hour.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.
Dot the top of pudding with bits of butter. Put the souffle dish into a larger contain and fill the larger container with water about half-way up. This is called a water bath and it keeps the temperature at which the bread pudding cooks both gentle and even.
Bake 45 minutes to an hour until the edge is set but center still trembles slightly. Cool pudding to warm in backing dish on a rack. Pudding will continue to set as it cools.
Serve with a little (or a lot) of unsweetened whipped cream. A little good quality vanilla ice cream wouldn’t be bad here, either.
What’s your favorite bread pudding, Fellow FoodBeest? Do you add fruit or other seasonings? Make a sauce? Share your favorites with us in the Comments section below.