It wasn't easy with so many great choices to choose from, however this sweet thing had just the right ring. I love bread and I love chocolate. Bread and chocolate. Wasn't that a movie? Easily, this could be my one meal to take to a desert (or dessert!) island. Luxurious.
For years, frugal homemakers saved leftover stale bread and moistened the cut up bite sized bread with egg, milk and sugar. A thrifty way to use up yesterday's bread. So, first the bread. Home made, or good quality bakery brioche. Additionally, I noticed on the P&Qs, challah, croissants, doughnuts and cinnamon rolls were creative choices for this as well. Wow, I want to try them all.
For the chocolate, semi sweet is the way to go. To get great flavor and value, Trader Joe's Pound Plus 72% dark chocolate is where I put my money. Cube the bread, moisten and soak with the pudding mixture. Bake.
Thanks for baking along with me this week. Also, Upper East Side is moving.....I'm heading west to the Upper West Side. Name is changed to A Baking Blog. See you now and see you then.
Four-Star Chocolate Bread Pudding
Adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours
By Dorie Greenspan
12 ounces bread (brioche, challah or white), preferably stale
1/2 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cherries (optional)
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cram
3 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Have a 9-x-13 inch baking pan at hand (a Pyrex pan is perfect here), as well as a roasting pan big enough to hold the baking pan and how water. Line the roasting pan with a double thickness of paper towels
Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. It the bread is stale, put it and the raisins or cherries, if you are using them, into the baking pan. If it is not stale, spread it out on a a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat and bake in a 350-degree-F oven to "stale" it for 10 minutes, then toss into the pan (with the fruit).
Bring the milk and cream just to a boil.
Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, yolks an d sugar together in a bow. Still whisking, slowly drizzle in about one quarter of the hot milk mixture--this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they don't curdle. Whisking all the while slowly pour in the rest of the hot milk. Add the chocolate and whisk it in gently until it is melted and the custard is smooth. Rap the bowl against the counter to pop bubbles that might have formed, then pour the custard over the bread and press the bread gently with the back of a spoon to help cover it with liquid. Leave the pan on the counter, giving the bread the back-of-the-spoon treatment now and then, for 30 minutes.
GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. F.
Slide the pan setup into the oven and very carefully pour enough how water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the pudding pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the pudding is uniformly puffed, the top is dull and dry and a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.