That's right. Not just any chocolate bread pudding. Four star chocolate bread pudding. This week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection was chosen for us by Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle. I didn't make last week's recipe, 15 Minute Magic Chocolate Amaretti Torte, but this one seemed very fast and magical in its own way. I hurried to make it as I had whole milk and whipping cream left over from other baking. I looked for challah at my neighborhood grocery store, but there wasn't any so I settled for a sweet batard.
Fortunately, the P&Q was posted on the day I made this, so I benefitted from several of the comments. I learned the chocolate flavor wasn't very strong using 60% bittersweet and it was a bit custardy, so I used 70% and added a few extra cubes of bread after 15 minutes of soaking. Love the P&Q!!
Dorie has you heat the milk, combine the sugar with the eggs and egg yolks, and then temper the egg mixture with some of the hot milk before slowly adding it while whisking like mad. Dorie, it goes without saying, is a MUCH better baker than I am. By a lot. So even though she doesn't need to, I always strain my custards. And I always have little egg bits in the strainer. This lovely chocolate bread pudding was no exception. And maybe it wouldn't have mattered, but I don't like microscopic scrambled egg bits to mar a transcendent chocolate experience.
I licked the spoon after putting the pan in the oven and it was deeply chocolate. I lurked by the oven door, checking its progress through the glass. The house smelled amazing while it was baking, which isn't a bad thing. One time I was looking at houses and one of the sellers had brownies baking during the open house. Multiple offers. I was one of them.
After 35 minutes, it tested done. I let it cool on a rack and waited impatiently for M. to come home from work. I rationalized that we would have salad for dinner so we could eat a lot of bread pudding for dessert. He sniffed it when he got home and was on board with my plan.
When we dug into it, I felt like Dorie had mislead us a bit. This really isn't four star chocolate bread pudding. Fourteen star, forty star, maybe. Four stars aren't enough. I both regretted and was relieved that I made a half recipe of this.
This is by no means health food, so do what we did. Eat a salad, and save room for dessert.
A denser bread will give you a breadier pudding; I used a very hearty bread, and the crunch of the crusts with the creaminess of the custard was really nice.
I scraped all the chocolate remnants at the bottom of the bowl onto the bread pudding and I could really taste those tiny pockets of pure chocolate. They were so sublime, I would consider adding the smallest amount of very very finely chopped chocolate next time, maybe just some shavings.
I had a small serving with creme fraiche and my advice is don't bother, unless intense chocolate is a turnoff for you. It distracted from the flavor of the chocolate, and I missed it.