Monday, May 13, 2013

Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding

This bread pudding recipe is from the Herbivoracious cookbook, by Michael Natkin, though here’s a link to it on the author’s blog. It is so good! It is soft and chewy (“moelleux” is the word I’m thinking of), not too sweet, and just the perfect dessert. It is rather homely-looking, though, so perhaps only serve it to family and don’t try to impress guests with it! The Engineer agreed it was delicious, warm or cold.

When I made it, I wondered whether the dish called for in the book (9”x13”) was a little too big, and I thought I would try it in a smaller dish next time. Lo and behold, a smaller dish (8”x12”) is what is called for in the blog post! So I’d say either dish is fine, depending on what you have on hand and on how thick you want your pudding. Also, the original recipe called for 7 oz. of chocolate, but I say go ahead and use all 8 oz. you probably have in the package, you won’t regret it.

4 large eggs
2 cups lactose-free whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of kosher salt
14 oz. challah or brioche, preferably slightly stale, most of the crust removed and cut into ¾” cubes
8 oz. high quality bittersweet chocolate, in the 70% range, cut into good sized chunks (not a whole mouthful, but a lot bigger than a chocolate chip)

Preheat your oven to 375 °F.

Butter a large shallow baking dish, around 8″ x 12″ (9”x13” will do too).

Beat the eggs. Whisk in the milk, starting with just a little at a time, until the eggs are well distributed. Whisk in the vanilla extract, sugar, and salt.

Place the cubed bread in the pan. Pour the custard evenly over the bread and toss lightly, trying to get it to absorb without squashing the bread too much.

Add the chocolate chunks and again toss gently to distribute.

Cover the pan with tin foil and cook until it reaches an internal temperature in the center of 185 °F, about 45 minutes for a 9”x13” dish, perhaps up to half-an-hour longer for an 8”x12” dish. (You can also check for doneness with a fork, and as it gets close, by taking a bite. You want it to be well set, but not overcooked and rubbery.)

Let rest ten minutes and serve it forth. A bit of (lactose-free, in all cases) whipped cream, a drizzle of heavy cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream are all very welcome.

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