In high school and when home from college, my friends slept over often. I would like to say it was because I was so popular, but I am pretty sure it is only because my mom often had a fresh batch of her Chocolate Bread Pudding waiting for us on the stovetop when we got back from a night out. This recipe made our house very popular amongst my Newton friends and I thought it was now time to share the secret with others : )
Plus, what a perfect recipe to make here in France – French baguette and oozy chocolate! Warning, this recipe is NOT pretty, but Lordy it is good! This is the perfect comfort dessert – we ate it last night as a crazy thunderstorm raged outside which was just perfect. I like mine warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but it is also good cold.
BUT, when I first tried this recipe here in France, I learned a big lesson: recipes sometimes need to be adapted to where you are making it. The first try came out more like a chocolate stew rather than a pudding, but I followed the recipe to the letter! After a little research, I realized it’s because the flour (and therefore bread) here in France is different from what we have in the US – French bread absorbs liquid much more quickly/intensely than American bread. I guess that’s why baguette is simply better in France, yet you can’t find a decent bagel here!
That being said, I re-made the recipe and added an additional 2 cups of cubed bread and it turned out just like Mom makes. If you are making this in France, the adjusted bread quantity is highlighted.
Wendy’s Chocolate Bread Pudding
Active time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 55 minutes
Need: large soufflé dish or large baking dish large enough to hold about 6 cups
5 cups (150 g) French bread cut into 1-inch cubes. If in France, use 7 cups (270 g), about 1 large baguette
2 cups (500 ml) half & half (half crème legere fluide, half crème entiere fluide in France)
2 tablespoons Vanilla flavoring
2 tablespoons Dark Rum or rum flavoring (can be left out)
2 eggs (room temperature)
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
12 ounces (340 g) good semisweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 325° F (165° C). In a large bowl, whisk together the half and half, vanilla and rum (or omit). Cut bread into cubes.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with a hand mixer for 5 minutes – it should turn pale yellow. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate over low heat (about 5 minutes), stirring and scraping the bottom so it does not burn.
Add the bread cubes to the half and half mixture and gently toss to moisten all of the bread.
Pour the melted chocolate into the beaten eggs and sugar and beat for a minute to mix it all together. **This must be done quickly because otherwise the chocolate will harden.
Pour this mixture over the moistened bread and gently fold to blend. Pour into the soufflé dish or baking pan. This must be cooked in a water bath so place the soufflé dish/baking pan into a larger dish that is almost the same height and fill that halfway full with water. Put in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes. The top will be a bit crunchy, but with some chocolatey liquid around it. Serve immediately or this can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
And bon appétit!