Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

We are in a dinner club with some friends, and we meet (in a good year) every other month at someone's house for dinner.  The host plans a theme/menu and everyone signs up to bring something.  Most of the time, I sign up for dessert (Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce, this time).  I just can't help myself!  I don't get any complaints, so I guess it is okay!

May's dinner theme was a Louisiana Crawfish Boil.  Holy-mackeral there was a ton of food!  Our hosts just kept adding more and more dishes to an already full meal!  We were stuffed like ticks when we left!  Thank goodness we only do this every other month!  It was a delicious meal.  Besides crawfish, we also had some meat pies, gumbo, red beans and rice, fried green tomatoes, maque choux, a salad, hush puppies, shrimp creole and I am probably forgetting what else in my food overload!  For dessert, the hosts chose Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce.  

I was excited to try this recipe.  One of the most decadent things I have ever eaten is White Chocolate Bread Pudding at the Jazz Festival in New Orleans.  Oh, my, is it tasty.  Somehow, even though it is a zillion degrees outside and I am hot and tired, I can STILL eat that delicious concoction.  I just eat it with a Rose-mint Iced Tea and all is well.  You put the little plastic spoon in your mouth, close your eyes, and sigh with abandon.  You are transported to a world of deliciousness.  Since it is so amazing, obviously I had to find the recipe, so I have managed to re-create it at home a couple of times.  We have not returned to Jazz Fest since becoming parents and must get back soon.  I highly recommend the fest as a whole, and the food there is unlike any festival food you will ever eat!  Anyway, since White Chocolate Bread Pudding is so heavenly, and I am not even a white chocolate fan, could you go wrong with straight up CHOCOLATE bread pudding?  I think not.

You start with 2 quarts French bread, which you cut into 1 inch cubes and set out to dry.  I just cut up a whole loaf of bread.  There are 2 quarts in the pan on the left, and another quart on the right.  I went ahead and used it all.  Once the bread is good and dried, put it in a greased 9x13-inch baking pan.

Then you chop up your chocolate.  The recipe calls for 4 ounces each of white and dark chocolate. Sprinkle the chocolate over the bread.  Once I did this, I had the crazy idea that it wasn't enough chocolate.  I mean, can you ever have TOO much?  Probably not.  So I grabbed some chocolate chips (we use Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Chips) and added about 4 ounces more.

 Now for the custard part.  Mix eggs, half and half, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract and butter together in a bowl, and then pour that over the bread and chocolate.  Since I used more bread and more chocolate, I did use a little more of the custard ingredients.  I threw in a little heavy cream (just because I happened to have some, maybe 1/4 - 1/2 cup total) and two little tiny farm eggs.  They were itsy bitsy, so I figured 2 eggs probably equaled more like 1 regular large egg.  I also added a bit more cinnamon and vanilla extract, and 2 extra tablespoons of butter.  If you look closely, you can see that there are some circular chocolate chips on the top!  I did make an attempt at chopping them, but then decided to just throw the rest in!

At this point, you can go ahead and put it in the oven.  Since I made this during the day and the dinner wasn't until the evening, I decided to just let the custard and bread sit together for a while and then bake it at our friend's house.  That way I could serve it warm without having to re-heat it!

Our dinner group was on May 5.  Did you happen to look at the moon that night?  It was the largest full moon of 2012, which happens when the moon is at its closest to the earth.  The moon won't come this close again until August 2014.  I attempted to take a photo of the moon, but the shutter was so slow I needed a tripod instead of me just holding my breath!  So it looks a bit doubled because I just couldn't keep the camera quite still enough.  Let me assure you, it was a truly amazing and beautiful sight!

Ok, back to the bread pudding!

IT bakes for 30 minutes at 350 and there you have some yummy goodness!

In the mean time, I made the bourbon sauce.  I neglected to photograph this concoction, but it is made of butter, sugar, egg yolks and bourbon.  How can that be bad??  It can't!!  For this group, I used the amount of bourbon on the higher range that the recipe states, though that isn't necessary!  I did 1 1/2 the recipe for the sauce.

Even though we are all stuffed from our big dinner, everyone devoured the Chocolate Bread Pudding!  What a treat!

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
adapted from Real Cajun Cookbook
2 quarts dried bread cubes, in 1-inch pieces
4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1 quart half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
2 TB ground cinnamon
1 TB vanilla extract
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

Bourbon Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 egg yolks
2 to 4 TB bourbon

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Spread the cubed bread in the baking pan and sprinkle the chocolate on top.

Whisk the eggs, half-and-half, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and butter together.  Pour over the bread and chocolate.  The mixture should look fairly wet and the bread should be slightly submerged when pressed with a spatula (or your hand!).  Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the bread pudding jiggles like jelly.  If only the middle part jiggles, give it more time in the oven.  The pudding should hold together and jiggle as one piece.  Allow the pudding to cool slightly while you make the bourbon sauce.

Heat the sugar and butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.  Place the egg yolks in a metal mixing bowl and slowly pour the warm butter into the bowl, whisking constantly.  Finish the sauce with the bourbon, depending on how strong you want the bourbon flavor to be.  If you do not serve the bourbon sauce immediately, cover it and keep it warm.  If the sauce gets too hot or cold, it will break.  If that happens, whisk in another egg to fix it.

Serve the bread pudding with a generous drizzle of bourbon sauce.
Serves 6-8.  This is just crazy.  I cut mine into 15 pieces and they were plenty big!
Printable Recipe

Is it better than the White Chocolate Bread Pudding?  Well, my heart goes with the white chocolate one, but that may be an unfair question as there are such great memories attached to the white chocolate version!  Looking at the recipes, the regular chocolate one (the one from this post) is actually HEALTHIER, if you can believe that.  The white chocolate one has more eggs and uses heavy cream (though I have used half and half and even mixed in whole milk).  Plus dark chocolate is good for you because of all of the antioxidants, right? 

1 comment:

  1. I had bread pudding very similar to this at the Court of Two Sisters in New Orleans. All I can say is Oh. My. Can't wait to try this receipe. Thanks!


Due to some bizarre spam comments I have recently received, I am moderating the comments for a while. I hope this spam craziness stops so this becomes unnecessary!