Friday, December 12, 2008

Chocolate bread pudding is rich treat for the holidays

One thing’s for sure – you can depend on recipes you get from America’s Test Kitchen. So when I found this recipe I knew it had to be good. Their mission is to test recipes, understand how they work, and arrive at the best version.

And you can’t go wrong with ingredients such as challah bread, cream, cocoa, and semi-sweet chocolate. For those who don’t have time to do it all in one day, they suggest prepping the bread mixture and refrigerating it overnight, then baking the next day.

The folks at America’s Test Kitchen found that with the melted chocolate, the base was so thick that it wasn’t fully soaking into the bread. So to thin out the base, they soaked the toasted challah in a mixture of heavy cream, milk, and cocoa powder before adding in rich custard made with melted chocolate, egg yolks, cream, and sugar. They also suggest that you drizzle a bit of reserved chocolate sauce (melted chocolate and cream) over the warm bread pudding after it comes out of the oven. It’s important to use Dutch-based cocoa in this recipe. Natural cocoa powder will make the bread pudding too bitter.

Serves 12.

1 (12-inch) loaf challah, cut into 12-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 cup sugar
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
10 large egg yolks

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees F. Toast bread on baking sheet, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.
2. Increase oven temp to 325 degrees F. Grease 13x9-inch baking pan. Heat 1-1/2 cups cream, milk, cocoa, espresso, and 1/2 cup sugar in saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until steaming and sugar dissolves. Pour warm cream mixture over toasted bread and let stand, tossing occasionally, until liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring additional 1 cup cream to simmer in saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until smooth. Transfer 1 cup chocolate mixture to medium bowl and let cool 5 minutes (cover pan and reserve remaining chocolate mixture for serving). Add egg yolks, remaining cream, and sugar to bowl with chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
4. Transfer soaked bread mixture to prepared pan and pour chocolate custard mixture evenly over bread. Bake until pudding is just set and surface is slightly crisp, about 45 mijnutes. Let cool 30 minutes. Warm reserved chocolate mixture over low heat, then pour over bread pudding. Serve. (Leftover bread pudding should be refrigerated; reheat individual portions in microwave.)
Make ahead: In step 4, once soaked bread mixture has been transferred to prepared pan, the pan can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. When ready to bake, remove plastic and proceed with recipe as directed, increasing baking time to 55 to 60 minutes. Let reserved chocolate serving sauce cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Heat sauce in microwave when needed.
(Recipe 2008, America’s Test Kitchen;

No comments: