Friday night I stumbled upon a bread pudding recipe in my Moosewood Cookbook and suddenly felt like I must make bread pudding that night. I've only had bread pudding once or twice before and never felt it awed by it. But I started craving it, I actually blame reading about pumpkin bread pudding on Smitten Kitchen the other day – the Moosewood recipe just jarred that memory. I've also been craving chocolate lately but eating a plain chocolate bar had no appeal. I didn't really follow either recipe but threw this together and was quite pleased with how it turned out. I liked the slightly crunchy top the best, but the softer bottom pieces had much better flavor.
1/2 loaf baguette (about 8 oz), or other white bread
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
1/2 half and half
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger*
2 tablespoons gold rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 dark chocolate bars (about 5 oz)*
Put the chunk of butter into a 8 x 8 glass baking dish and place it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Pull out the pan once the butter has melted (don't let it burn). Meanwhile, cut the baguette into 1-inch cubes, you should have between 4 and 5 cups of bread. Add the bread to the pan with butter and toss to coat. Chop the chocolate bars into coarse chunks and add to the bread in the pan. Beat the milk, half and half, and eggs together. Stir in the sugar, ginger, rum, and vanilla. Pour the custard over the bread and chocolate and bake for about 30 minutes. All the custard should be absorbed and set.
*I'm sure grated fresh ginger would be even better but at 11 pm that seemed like too much work; I used 3 dark chocolate hershey's bars (1.45 oz each) because that is what I had on hand, in hindsight I think 2 1/2 bars would have been perfect.
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