Monday, January 12, 2009

Chocolate bread pudding is always in season

So enough of the diet already! We’re sick and tired of watching our calories. We need CHOCOLATE. No frills or fancy stuff. Just any good chocolate will do. Preferably of the darker sweet variety, but hey we’re not picky – we’ll accept whatever falls onto our path. Or candy dish as the case may be.

And a very, although belated, Happy New Year to all my friends in Bread Pudding Land! Thanks so much to all of you who’ve contributed so many wonderful recipes and also made comments. To celebrate the New Year, and also our chocolate craving, here’s a recipe for chocolate bread pudding that swims in a scrumptious bourbon pecan caramel sauce. If we’re going to dive in, this is where we want to be. The pudding has almost a fudge texture. Need we say more?
Thanks to Pepe in New Orleans for suggesting this great bread pudding!


Sauce ingredients:
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-1/4 cups whipping cream
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 tablespoons bourbon

Pudding ingredients:
2 cups milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup sugar
8 oz. Scharffen Berger 62% Semisweet Chocolate, chopped
8 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (1 lb.) unsliced egg bread, crusts removed, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions for sauce:
Stir sugar and water in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Mix in corn syrup and lemon juice. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan occasionally. Remove from heat. Pour in cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir over low heat until caramel is melted and smooth. Increase heat; boil until sauce is reduced to 1-2/3 cups, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in pecans and bourbon. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before using.)
Directions for pudding:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine milk, cream, and sugar in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir until smooth. Beat eggs and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture. Add bread cubes. Let stand until bread absorbs some of custard, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Transfer mixture to 13x9x2-inch dish. Cover with foil. Bake until set in center, about 45 minutes. Uncover, cool at least 15 minutes. Serve pudding warm or at room temperature with warm sauce.
(Recipe by Chef Alison Barshak, chef/owner of Alison at Blue Bell, a suburban Philadelphia bistro)

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