Welcome to another chocolate-y week with "Tuesdays with Dorie!" This weeks recipe is "Four-Star Chocolate Bread Pudding" chosen by Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle. Thank you, Lauren! Bread pudding is a new experience for me.
I wasn't sure if we'd like this dessert, so I made just a quarter of the recipe and baked it in a small casserole dish. How do you measure 3/4 of an egg? I used my scale. 1 large egg (out of the shell) should weight 50 grams, so 3/4 of that is 37.5 grams. I weighed the single egg yolk, too, because I've been hearing that egg yolks are getting smaller. No kidding! Granted, it came from a medium rather than large egg, but my wimpy yolk measured just 13 grams instead of the 18.6 grams that Rose Levy Beranbaum specifies for a large egg yolk. I decided to make up the difference with some of the extra whole egg. It seemed to work OK.
I couldn't get all of the chocolate to melt into the custard. There were tiny specks of chocolate in my custard even after I put it back over the heat and whisked like crazy. I have no idea why that happened. Eventually I just gave up and poured it over the bread. If I try this again, I'm going to melt the chocolate before mixing it into the custard mixture.
Speaking of the bread, I made my own! There isn't much of a selection of white bread at our food co-op, and Jim would give me all sorts of trouble if I brought home a loaf of supermarket white bread (gasp! the horror!) After browsing through some recipes, I decided against a brioche or challah. They sounded like a lot of work and contained a whole lot of eggs. I settled on a sandwich loaf recipe that had milk, one egg, 2 tablespoons of butter, and two tablespoons of sugar in one loaf. And to make it a bit healthier, one-third of the flour was white whole wheat flour. Jim still said it was "way too white-bread," and I thought it was a bit too sweet, but it worked just great for the pudding!
At first I thought I was going to have too much custard, and planned to baked the extra in a small custard cup. But the bread puffed up like crazy after soaking and I ended up needing all of the custard just to cover it. Oh yes, I put in some dried cherries, and sprinkled some Amaretti crumbs over the top just before baking.
Here it is afer baking and cooling. It took about 35-40 minutes to bake, even though I was only making a quarter of the recipe.
Here's what the inside looks like. The chocolate didn't soak all the way into the bread. And the cherries all sank to the bottom even though I had quite deliberately put them in the middle of the two layers of bread cubes. Not really the most elegant of desserts -- but then, it's not supposed to be.
The verdict? It tasted fine, but I doubt I'll make it again. To quote Jim again, "I can think of lots of better ways to use chocolate." (Like last week's cake, for example.) Still, it was fun to try -- I've never made bread pudding before. I might do another one someday, but probably not with chocolate. In fact, I'm thinking maybe a savory one would be good -- with some shaved ham, onions, cheese, and some sort of vegetable -- sort of a quiche without the crust.