Monday, February 14, 2011

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Sometimes there are recipes that make you stop after one bite, reflect on life, and decide you might be a hero. This was one of those for me. My friends Christopher and Elizabeth had me over for a lesson in wild game preparation, and this was my contribution. Chocolate bread pudding paired with bacon-wrapped quail over cheese grits... I could die. There are no words to describe how great this meal was - the food, the wine, the friends - spectacular. So here's my version of chocolate bread pudding. Just prepare yourself because this will blow your mind.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

1 loaf French bread, sliced in small cubes
4 oz. butter, melted
16 oz. chocolate, (1/2 grated)
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
6 eggs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Toss the bread with butter and chocolate. Spread in 9x13 baker.
Combine milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and cook until sugar is dissolved.
Whisk eggs until smooth. Slowly add milk mixture to eggs, stirring constantly.
Pour custard over bread, and bake 1 hour or until custard is set, and bread is golden.

You know what's annoying if you don't have a good knife? Slicing an entire loaf of French bread. Fortunately, the 7" Santoku makes quick work of this, and I have an 8-Quart Stainless Bowl full of cubes in no time. As always, I've got the Large Grooved Cutting Board laid across my sink for extra workspace. In a small kitchen, this thing is an absolute gift. I can't say enough about it, but I'll stop now. Ok, moving on...

Prep work = Fun cooking
No prep work = Frustration
The milk and heavy cream are measured into Easy Read Measuring Cups, and I've got my sugar in the 2/3 cup from the Measuring Cup Set. That's right - there's a 2/3 cup measurement. My eggs are in the Small Batter Bowl, an absolute must-have. Funny story about the eggs... There were supposed to be eight, but I had some help cracking them, and two didn't make it in the bowl. I didn't realize it until I saw two extra eggs in my fridge the next day, but I was so happy with the six-egg custard that I decided to change the recipe. Fewer eggs... fewer calories... larger serving... right?

This is a case where the Silicone Sauce Whisk comes in handy. The milk mixture requires attention to keep from scorching, and I don't have to worry about scratching the coating of my pan thanks to the silicone. The pan I'm using is the 4-Qt. from the Professional Cookware Collection, but that line has been upgraded. The new 4-Qt. nonstick pan is in the 5-Piece Executive Set.

Stainless Mixing Bowl Set: Love. I use these on a constant basis, and I always end up washing them myself because I can't fill the dishwasher before I need them again. That's why it's nice that they're lightweight and easy to clean. The set includes a 2-Qt., 4-Qt., and 8-Qt., and each comes with a lid.

The butter is melting in the 1.5-Qt. Saucepan from the Executive Cookware Collection, and I'm using the Skinny Scraper to help the process. What's nice about using a scraper is that I can get all the butter out of the pan when I drizzle it over the bread. Leaving a drop out of the actual dessert would be tragic! Yes, the Skinny Scraper can stay in the pan without melting because it's silicone, and it resists heat up to 650 degrees.

Because I took time to grate half the chocolate, my bread has a good coating that will soak in during baking. The Rotary Grater made quick work of this, and the result will be worth the extra step. Besides, this just looks prettier than a bunch of chunks.

See how the Rectangular Baker developed a halo during baking? It looks like heaven, and I promise it smells it heaven. Make chocolate bread pudding tonight, and let me know what you think. Warning... this stuff is addictive.

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