Although the ingredients and methods of Dorie's recipe differ significantly from my grandmother's, I was excited to try this week's Chocolate Bread Pudding., chosen by Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle. You can find Dorie's recipe on Lauren's site (or on page 410 of Dorie's book); for my grandmother's recipe, just scroll down to the end of this post.
- My freezer contained half a kugelhopf that I made in February. It had turned out a little dry (but with great flavor) so I figured it would be the perfect base for this bread pudding.
- With my husband out of town, I made 1/4 recipe. The P&Q contained many reports of extra custard, so I used 1/3 recipe's worth of bread cubes (4 oz rather than 3 oz).
- I "staled" my already dry bread in the oven.
- Because the kugelhopf contained some currants and golden raisins (and the occasional sliced almond) I didn't add any dried fruit to the pudding.
-The recipe was very easy to cut, aside from the egg quantity. A 1/4 recipe means 1 yolk and 3/4 of a whole egg. This is actually not too difficult to do with a digital scale. But (and if you're a regular reader, please feel free to gasp at this next bit of information) I didn't calculate. I didn't weigh. I didn't measure. I just winged it. I had a lot of egg wash left over from my Sweet Melissa apple turnovers - I'm guessing there was about half an egg and maybe a tablespoon of cream in a little container in my fridge. I've orphaned so many partial eggs in recent baking forays (7 egg whites last week alone, which I will freeze and/or use soon) and I didn't want to toss this egg wash. So I scraped it into a bowl. Then I broke yet another egg and added the yolk and some of the white.
bread cubes all "staled" and ready to use
- I reduced the cream a bit because there was cream in the egg wash. For milk I used Smart Balance nonfat lactose-free. It claims to taste as rich as whole milk so this seemed like a great use for it.
- Since I only needed 1/8 cup of sugar, I decided to use some of the fancy stuff in my stash of baking ingredients, and chose Golden Baker's sugar.
- I used Scharffen Berger 72% bittersweet chocolate. The best thing about 1/4 recipe is that chopping 1.5 oz of chocolate is no big deal!
- The pudding baked in a water bath for 25 minutes. I forgot the double layer of paper towels, but it didn't seem to be a problem.
To accompany the pudding I made some brandied whipped cream - with a whisk and a bowl and some elbow grease. Because I was making such a small amount I didn't think my mixer would whip it. It was surprisingly easy.
Dorie recommends this be eaten room temperature or chilled. I tried it warm, room temp, and cold. I liked it best when it was still medium-warm - with the brandied whipped cream. A little bit of the vanilla/orange/cinnamon/nutmeg flavors of my underlying bread came through in the taste of the pudding. So good! I still have a good bit of the kugelhopf in the freezer and I think It'd make a fabulous regular bread pudding, or even a version with a berry sauce stirred into the custard.
The chocolate flavor seemed stronger when the bread pudding was cold. It put me in the mood to try my grandmother's recipe!
my grandmother's (and mother's) recipe:
Chocolate Crumb Pudding
Better Homes and Gardens, October 1937
In double-boiler heat 1 oz sweet chocolate, 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup milk; add slowly 4 beaten egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar. Cook until thickened. Add 2 cups soft bread crumbs, 1 cup shredded blanched almonds, fold in 4 stiff beaten egg whites. Cover and steam in double boiler 25 minutes. Serve hot or cold with cream or custard sauce.