Chocolate Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce and Fresh Whipped Cream

Something about Christmas always makes me want chocolate. I mean, I always want chocolate, but Christmas makes me want it even more. I have to consciously choose not to make only chocolate treats this time of year. After all, not everyone loves it as much as I do (which I will never understand). I did, however, discover a recipe recently that wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t had so much tasty chocolate in it.

When I was a little girl, my dad used to make desserts sort of on a whim. There was never any planning involved. He’d just take whatever we had on hand and whip something up. Sometimes this led to favorite little snacks, and smiles all around. But sometimes it ended up with groans of disappointment from me and my sisters. See, his favorite dessert to whip up was bread pudding. We would get all excited when he said he was going to make dessert, and then he’d pull bread pudding out of the oven. Gross.

Neither of my sisters or me liked it. It was a huge letdown to think we were getting something yummy, only to have bread pudding show up. Now, I won’t say that I still don’t like bread pudding, it wouldn’t be fair (I haven’t had it since I was a kid), but in my memories, I really don’t like it. I have decided to try to make some like my dad used to make, and give it another chance. In the meantime, though, I just haven’t liked it. Well, until now.

Chocolate makes everything better. I came across this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, The Art and Soul of Baking. Even with my sketchy past with bread pudding, I immediately wanted to try it (seriously, chocolate makes everything better). I am so very glad that I made this! Plus, like most bread puddings, it was simple to make…even with homemade caramel sauce! The best part is that you can prepare this for the oven the day before you plan to serve it. Then, you just pop it in the oven an hour and a half or so before dessert time, and you’ll have a warm, delicious treat ready and waiting! Even the caramel sauce and whipped cream can be made early!

For my pudding, I used leftover challah bread. Cut the bread into slices that are about one inch thick.

Cut away the crust and dice the slices into one inch cubes. Spread the bread cubes evenly over a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before using. Now comes the yummy part…

Chocolate! I used semi-sweet, but you can use bittersweet for an even richer, deeper flavor.

While the bread is cooling, heat the heavy cream and milk over medium high heat until it just starts to simmer. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Allow to sit for a minute or so, then whisk mixture together until thoroughly combined; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Whisking constantly, slowly add a half cup of the cream mixture and continue whisking until combined. This is going to temper the eggs (warm them up slowly so they don’t cook). Slowly add another half cup of the cream mixture, while still whisking constantly. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, slowly whisk in the remaining cream mixture until well mixed.

Spray a 9-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray, or lightly grease it with butter. Place the toasted bread in the pan and pour the chocolate mixture over it. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the pan and gently press the bread down into the chocolate mixture until all of the bread pieces are soaked with chocolate. Place the covered pan int he refrigerator to soak for at least 8 hours. Gently stir the mixture occasionally.

After the bread has soaked, remove the plastic wrap and bake the pudding at 325 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes, or until somewhat firm in the center. It’s done when a spoon pressed down in the center meets resistance, and no liquid pools around it. Place on a wire cooling rack, and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Admittedly, this isn’t really very pretty…

…but we’re going to dress it up with caramel and whipped cream to make it look absolutely mouthwatering. Besides, you won’t hear any complaining once everyone tastes it, trust me!

Since the pudding itself is so rich, I decided to use a salted caramel sauce with it, to cut some of that sweetness, and it is the absolute perfect compliment! Don’t hold back either! The more, the merrier! And don’t forget a heaping helping of fresh whipped cream on top!

You absolutely have to serve this warm, too! All that rich chocolate, gooey caramel, and soft cream melting together…this is seriously irresistible! The only thing that would make this better is if it made more! I promise that if you have an anti-bread pudding person in your house, this is the recipe that will convert them! Enjoy!

Rich Chocolate Bread Pudding
with Salted Caramel Sauce and Fresh Whipped Cream
Makes 1-9 inch pudding

Ingredients

FOR THE PUDDING
1 loaf challah, or other rich bread (about 1 pound)
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups sugar
pinch of salt
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Sauce

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Slice bread into 1-inch slices and cut away the crust. Dice bread slices into 1-inch cubes. Spread bread cubes evenly over a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20, until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before using.

While bread is cooling, heat the heavy cream and milk over medium high heat until it just starts to simmer. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Allow to sit for a minute or so, then whisk mixture together until thoroughly combined; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Whisking constantly, slowly add 1/2 cup of the cream mixture and continue whisking until combined. Slowly add another 1/2 cup of the cream mixture, while still whisking constantly. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, slowly whisk in the remaining cream mixture until well mixed.

Spray a 9-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray, or lightly grease it with butter. Place the toasted bread in the pan and pour the chocolate mixture over it. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the pan and gently press the bread down into the chocolate mixture until all of the bread pieces are soaked with chocolate. Place the covered pan int he refrigerator to soak for at least 8 hours. Gently stir the mixture occasionally.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake the pudding for 60 to 70 minutes, or until somewhat firm in the center. It’s done when a spoon pressed down in the center meets resistance, and no liquid pools around it. Place on a wire cooling rack, and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before topping with caramel sauce and whipped cream, and serving.

To make the whipped cream: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the heavy cream on medium high speed until it starts to thicken. Sprinkle in the sugar and continue whipping until firm peaks begin to form. Stir in the vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Bread pudding adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking, caramel sauce and whipped cream by Darla

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Comments

  1. Scarletta @ Scarletta Bakes says

    I totally agree with everything in this post – from the fact the bread pudding seems, on the face of it, kind of scary and gross to me, to the undeniable truth that chocolate makes everything better.

    This bread pudding looks delicious and I can't wait to try it – thanks so much for the recipe!!

  2. Jennie says

    I can relate- the bread pudding I was first introduced to by my aunt was rather disgusting. Thankfully I braved it up and tried making it on my own. I LOVE hwo you have created this one….amazing!

  3. C&C Cakery says

    This is seriously the best way to get rid of all that left over challah that thrown to the wayside after Hanukkah. You are my savour. This is going to be delicious :)

  4. says

    The problem with most bread puddings is that people ruin it with horrible things like raisins and nuts and icky things like that. Every bread pudding that I’ve ever made has featured chocolate. Paula Deen has a chocolate bread pudding with a Bailey’s sauce that almost killed me it was so good. My philosophy is that all raisins should be replaced with chocolate chips. Yours looks beautiful. Another must try.