Chocolate and Valentine’s Day is a relationship worth honouring. This Chocolate Espresso Bread Pudding elevates an old fashioned dessert to special occasion status. It must be made ahead so that even the cook can kick back, enjoy and share the love on February 14.
Chocolate Espresso Bread Pudding
Courtesy of Dairy Farmers of Canada (www.dairygoodness.ca)
Preparation Time 30 minutes
Cooking Time 45 to 55 minutes
Yield – 10 to 12 servings
6 oz (170 g) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
3 cups (750 ml) 35% whipping cream, divided
3/4 cup (175 ml) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) freshly brewed espresso or
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
12 slices (1/2-inch/1 cm thick) day-old egg bread, brioche, or white bread
Lightly butter a 13 x 9-inch (3 L) glass baking dish and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate, 2 cups (500 mL) of the cream, sugar, espresso and butter and melt over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, place slices of bread on a cutting board and cut off crusts. Cut each slice diagonally into 4 triangles. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Gradually pour in chocolate mixture in a thin stream, whisking well to combine. Spoon a 1/2 inch (1 cm) layer of chocolate mixture over bottom of prepared dish. Place half the bread triangles over the chocolate, overlapping slightly as you go. Pour half of the remaining chocolate mixture over bread, then cover with remaining bread in same pattern as before. Pour remaining chocolate mixture over the top. Press the bread down all over with a fork to allow mixture to coat bread evenly. Allow dish to cool for 10 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or for up to 48 hours.
To serve, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Remove plastic wrap from dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until top is crunchy and pudding is set but pudding-like in the center. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.
In a chilled bowl, whip remaining cream and serve with warm pudding.
Brioche is a light and fluffy bread made with eggs, sugar and butter. Egg bread (challah) or white bread can easily be substituted. Use a rectangular loaf that makes square slices for the best presentation.