or, Chocolate. Bread. Pudding. Oh My!
3 magic words. Each on its own holds a special place in my heart. But combine them and what you get is definitely more than the sum of the parts.
A dessert I can’t pass up.
The first time I ever tried CBP was from one of those places you go and prepare 20 meals for your family over the course of a couple hours. The owner talked me into bringing home their CBP and I (kind of reluctantly) took it home to try. Imagine my surprise when it was about the best thing I had ever tasted. In fact it was so good, I wasn’t sure I wanted to share it with my kids. Because when you are a kid, who wants something called Bread Pudding? Yuck, you think. For a slice or two, I thought “Well, just go with that…(more for me!)” Eventually I gave it up and told them just how delicious it was, and, reluctantly, they tried it. So now, it’s a family favorite.
I’ve been trying to re-create that recipe ever since, and this recipe is as close as I’ve come.
The best thing about bread pudding is that it is a dessert that is not too fussy. If you want to use day or week-old bread, that is fine. If you want to use a freshly baked brioche, go right ahead. The week-old bread pudding will be chewier and heartier, and the brioche pudding will be tender, soft, and buttery. But both outstanding in their own way.
I had decided a couple months ago to save the parts of bread loaves that were left over from a meal in hopes of making a bread pudding. So finally I had a zipper bag in my freezer full of stale Italian, French, Sourdough and Como breads. But like I said, you can really use any bread at all, even sandwich breads or buns, just whatever you have on hand.
You can also use any pan, from casserole dish to cake pan to cast iron skillet. For this recipe, I used a 10-inch springform for a nice presentation at the end. You can also slightly vary the amounts of cream or milk, just as long as the total liquid amount is the same. So give it a try, you might just have a new favorite dessert! Enjoy!
Chocolate Bread Pudding
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 1/2 c milk (I had 1% in the fridge, but any will do)
1 lb (16 oz) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or chips
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into small cubes
6 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
3/4 t salt
1 lb any type bread, cut into half-inch cubes
2 t vanilla extract
Spray 10-inch springform pan or 13×9 baking pan. If using a springform pan, line with parchment, to facilitate removal.
Pour the bread cubes into the pan.
Next, make the custard. In a medium saucepan, heat cream and milk until simmering. You will know it is simmering when it steams. There may also be small bubbles around the side of the pan. Remove it from the heat when you see the steam.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Temper the eggs by slowly spooning in a small amount (1/4 cup) of the hot cream while whisking briskly. Then whisk the egg mixture into the cream.
In a medium bowl, place chopped chocolate and the cubes of cream cheese. Slowly pour the custard mixture over the chocolate and cheese. Leave mixture alone for 3 minutes. Then stir or whisk until mixture is smooth. Add vanilla.
Pour custard over the bread cubes, covering all of them. You can use a spoon to push the cubes down into the custard for coating.
If you are ready to bake the pudding, preheat oven to 325F. Otherwise cover dish and refrigerate a few hours up to overnight. This actually improves the pudding, so if you have time, definitely refrigerate overnight.
Bake 45 minutes or until custard is set. Serve warm or cold with lightly whipped cream. Enjoy!