One of my all-time favorite SOHO indulgences is the chocolate bread pudding. Somehow it manages to be decadent, but not heavy. It is the perfect ending to a meal. Or, if you believe that dessert is a meal in and of itself (which I do), the chocolate bread pudding is an ideal dinner.
I’m not alone in my love for the chocolate bread pudding. In fact, Knife and Fork's Christiane Lauterbach once wrote of the dessert, "How could you live with yourself if you missed the softest, most enchanting chocolate bread pudding in town?". Due to it's popularity, SOHO often receives requests for the recipe. With that in mind I thought I’d share it here:
Chocolate bread pudding with clear caramel sauce (serves 8)
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 standard loaf of bread – with edges trimmed and pulsed in food processor
11 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
8 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
Directions for Chocolate Bread Pudding:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the bread crumbs and chocolate in a large mixing bowl; set aside. Lightly coat an 8-by-12-inch or 9-by-13-inch pan with butter; set aside. In a saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar and the vanilla extract. Whisk in a small amount of the heated cream and then whisk the egg yolk mixture into the hot cream. Pour the cream mixture over the bread crumbs and chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted.
Transfer to the prepared pan. Place the pan in a larger baking dish and pour warm water into the outer pan, about 1 inch up the sides. Bake the bread pudding in its water bath for 30 to 40 minutes, until set in the center. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and warm caramel sauce. (Note: Bread pudding can be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 325 degree oven or in the microwave.)
Directions for Clear Caramel Sauce:
Combine sugar and 1/2 cup water in a heavy saucepan. Cook over high heat, swirling occasionally to dissolve sugar, and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid turns caramel in color, 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully add remaining 1/2 cup water and swirl to dissolve.
Transfer mixture to heat-resistant glass or ceramic bowl. Cool slightly before serving, or cool to room temperature and then reheat a few seconds in microwave before serving.