This was my very first attempt at making any kind of bread pudding. We were invited to a dinner party on Saturday night and I offered to bring dessert. I settled on bread pudding because I had a loaf of homemade bread someone had given us in our freezer. It was time to either use it or lose it so I figured, what the hell! Nothing revitalizes stale bread like a good bread pudding recipe. And just because it usually pleases more people, I decided to make a chocolate bread pudding rather than the typical classic raisin version.
I think because I had to bake this ahead of time and then transport it to the party, it wasn't able to be served at it's peak of flavor - which would have been 30 minutes after coming out of a hot oven. Despite this however, and an attempt to reheat it at the party, it was still quite a flavorful dessert. The chocolaty richness is spot on and the bread develops a nice moistness from the eggy custard. But all these things are nothing without the topping. The topping. THE TOPPING! It really deserves its own post. The beautiful Bourbon Caramel Sauce is what takes this dessert from mild to wild, ordinary to extraordinary (anyone else out there watch Jerseylicious??), alright to out of sight! Ok you catch my drift. The sauce is worth making on its own with or without the bread pudding. It would be heavenly drizzled over some vanilla ice cream or brownies. I could honestly think of 1,001 uses for the caramel sauce. If you do anything with this post, make the caramel sauce. The recipe makes a ton so no need to use it sparingly! Glob it on and enjoy!
Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Food & Wine Magazine online
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
One 1-pound loaf challah, crusts removed, bread cut into 1-inch dice (12 cups)
Butter an 8-by-11-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. In a medium glass bowl, microwave the chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals until melted, stirring between intervals.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over moderately high heat. In a large bowl, whisk the whole eggs and yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar, the vanilla and salt. Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, then whisk in the melted chocolate.
Spread the challah cubes in the prepared baking dish and pour the chocolate custard over the top. Press the challah into the custard until evenly soaked, then let stand for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325°. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the bread pudding. Set the baking dish in a roasting pan and fill the pan halfway with hot water. Bake the bread pudding for 50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the dish from the water bath and let stand for 20 minutes. Serve the bread pudding warm or at room temperature with the Bourbon Caramel Sauce and whipped cream.
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup bourbon
n a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil over high heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, washing down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Continue cooking, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream. Let cool for 1 minute, then stir in the bourbon. Bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Let the caramel sauce cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.
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