Who can resist a warm, sweet, "jiggly" bread pudding? When made fresh - and not sitting around in storage for a day or two - bread pudding is a sublime addition to the breakfast and/or dessert menu. And as a cook it can add lots of opportunity for creativity and the ability to create a dessert that draws "oohs", "ahhhs", and lots of "yums" from your family and/or guests. I found this beautiful bread pudding recipe and fell in love with it. Custardy, warm, and with a chocolate drizzle? Sold! So, this week's featured Recipe of the Week is Bread and Butter Bread Pudding from JoytheBaker.com.
Just to be safe, you should give yourself a minimum of about 3 hours to get this recipe done - start to finish. This includes the minimum one hour of time the mixture sits and soaks before baking. Now there is an option here (no, not one that makes the recipe shorter; but can make it easier). The mixture can soak from one hour up to overnight. So, if you choose to you can do the first part of the recipe (maybe 30-40 minutes) then you can refrigerate the mixture overnight and simply bake it the next morning (about 45-55 minutes with preheating and slight cooling). Splitting the recipe up this way may make it easier to squeeze into your schedule.
Here's how the recipe comes together. Preheat your oven to o 375° F and place a rack into the upper-third of the oven. Slice your bread (brioche is preferred, but others can work also), place them on a rimmed baking sheet, and toast them 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Just make sure it doesn't burn. Remove them and cool them slightly.
Butter each slice of bread and grease a 9x13-inch baking pan with the rest of the butter. Here's the most fun (and messiest) part. Tear up the bread into bite-sized pieces and place them into the buttered baking dish. Add and distribute the dried cherries (if you are using them as the recipe suggests, but makes optional).
Now for the custard. Mix together the milk, cream, vanilla, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Then you whisk it until it's well-combined and smooth. Pour the cream mixture over the bread pieces. Push down a bit on the bread t make sure that it's all coated and that most of it is submerged and soaking up the liquid. Cove the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate - for at least an hour (and overnight if you wish).
When the mixture is ready. Make sure your oven rack is set back in the center and preheat your oven to 350° F. When preheated, unwrap and bake the bread pudding for about 40 minutes. It should toasted, puffed, and golden brown. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for at least 30 minutes. This will cool the bread pudding and allow it to firm up a little.
While the bread pudding is baking or cooling, make the chocolate sauce. Over medium-low heat whisk together cocoa powder, sugar, and milk in a small saucepan. When it just starts to bubble at the edges add butter and the chocolate pieces and stir it all together to melt. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before serving. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Serve buy placing some bread pudding in a bowl, drizzling some chocolate sauce lightly on top. Serve it with small bowls of chocolate sauce nearby for extra drizzling! That's it! Now you have your very own puffy, wobbly, and chocolate-drizzled home-made bread pudding!
How about a word of two about JoyTheBaker.com? In her own words, Joy is "a self-taught baker, turned professional baker, turned food photographer and cookbook author". She now lives (after a 2014 move from California) deep in the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter. (A great place for anyone interested in food or cooking to live!) Joy has several great cookbooks to her credit - which can be found on her website at JoyTheBaker.com/cookbooks/. Her wonderful blog has been around since 2008. Be sure to check it out and make Joy part of your regular reading!
RECIPES OF THE WEEK.
And be sure to visit the great blogs I mention. You'll be happy you did!