Bread pudding is one of those things I have never had. When it comes to dessert I want something that really sounds like dessert, like something rich and chocolatey. Bread for dessert never sounded appealing to me. Maybe this recipe caught my eye because of the chocolate chips, but I decided that for our unconventional dinner we needed an unconventional dessert. I was originally going to make a very yummy-sounding cranberry-ribbon apple pie, but decided it didn’t quite fit with the rest of our dinner. That and I didn’t want to battle with pie crust again. So I took on something completely new, and not only made and ate bread pudding for the first time in my life, I made my own bread too.
It was an all day endeavor, to say the least. But I knew our grocery store didn’t have any brioche or egg bread (we’ve looked), and didn’t want to settle for something ordinary for this dessert. I made my own egg bread, which I then cubed and doused with custard. A truly homemade dessert from start to finish. And well worth the effort… Taylor said it’s the best thing I’ve baked in a long time (keep in mind the things you’re competing with here). I gain approval from him not through compliments or material goods or other ways in which women gain approval from their men, no… I do it through baked goods. A mediocre pie, to me, is worse than a bad hair day any day of the week. So this… to be the best thing I’ve baked in a long time…. this was a huge success.
My only advice is to wait at least 90 minutes (if not more) after dinner before you even attempt to eat this. It’s filling, to say the least, and you want to be able to enjoy every last bit of it.
I searched high and low for an egg bread/brioche recipe to make for this pudding… After finding a myriad of recipes, all of them different, some taking days and requiring way too many complicated steps, I ended up going with one I knew had to work… Betty is a failsafe like that. The result was more of a rich white bread than a brioche, but it worked great for the pudding. And for my first foray into breadmaking, it turned out pretty darned good if I do say so myself!
Rich Egg Bread
Makes 1 loaf. Recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.
3 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour (not self-rising)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package regular or quick active dry yeast
1 cup very warm water (120Ëš to 130Ëš)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
melted butter or margarine (optional)
Mix 1 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Add warm water and oil. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Add egg, beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Place dough in large bowl greased with shortening, turning dough to grease all sides. (At this point, dough can be refrigerated up to 24 hours). Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 hour. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
Grease bottom and sides of an 8 1/2″ or 9″ loaf pan. Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Flatten dough with hands or rolling pin into 18×9-inch rectangle. Roll up tightly, beginning at 9-inch side. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Press each end with side of hand to seal; fold ends under loaf. Place loaf, seam side down, in pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with cooking spray and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Move oven rack to low position so that top of pan will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 375ËšF. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan to wire rack. Brush loaf with butter and cool.
You can easily halve this recipe and put it in an 8×8 pan, or if you don’t have one, it fits perfectly in a 9.5″ pie dish. You can assemble the pudding a day ahead, cover and refrigerate, then bake just before serving.
Easily make a dairy free version of this recipe (that even the milk aficionados would have a hard time telling the difference) by substituting soy creamer for half and half and dairy-free margarine for the butter.
Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Cinnamon-Rum Sauce
Makes 12 to 14 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.
1 1-pound loaf brioche or egg bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2/3 of the Betty Crocker loaf, weight it just to be sure)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dark rum (brandy works nicely too if you don’t have rum)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350Â°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Place bread in large bowl; pour 8 tablespoons melted butter over bread and toss to coat. Add chocolate chips and toss to combine. Transfer mixture to prepared dish.
Whisk half and half, 1 cup sugar, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt in large bowl to blend. Pour over bread cubes in dish. Let stand 30 minutes, occasionally pressing bread cubes into custard. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter over pudding; sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake bread pudding until puffed, brown, and set in center, about 1 hour.
For sauce, melt unsalted butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add dark brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and salt and whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbling and smooth, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in dark rum and vanilla extract. Drizzle over pudding. Serve warm.