Yesterday’s post was about how to make dulce de leche without risking a minor kitchen explosion.
Now that you have it, what do you do with it? Look at the picture. Bread pudding filled with chocolate chunks. And then crowned [if not quite drowned] in the dulce de leche. This is a wonderful fall or winter party dessert. Your guests will be awed. The meal will end on a sugar high. And you won’t care what anybody thinks.
The secret to great bread pudding is great bread. And, all credit due, Suzen makes challah every weekend. Pillowy, rich challah that can be eaten on its own but truly deserves the glorious endings of French toast or bread pudding. If you can make your own bread. If you can’t do that, then find a neighborhood bakery where the smell is intense and the freshness is guaranteed.
Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
- 1 1 ½ pound loaf egg bread cut ½-inch-thick slices, crusts trimmed, cut into ¾- to 1-inch cubes
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, divided
- 2 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup dulce de leche sauce [see yesterday’s post for homemade!] plus more for serving
- 4 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup (about 3 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place bread in large bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons melted butter toss. Brush 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
Stir whipping cream and 1 cup dulce de leche in medium saucepan over medium heat until blended and bubbling. Remove from heat. Whisk eggs and yolks in large bowl. Add rum, vanilla, and salt; gradually whisk in warm dulce de leche mixture. Stir in bread cubes. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Mix chocolate chips into custard mixture. Pour into prepared dish. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake pudding until puffed and set in center, about 35 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar.
Serve warm, passing more dulce de leche topping alongside.
Source: Jill O’Connor in Bon Appetit, March 2008, available at www.epicurious.com
“No, you got it wrong.” Suzen said. “Again.”
“Suzen, the recipe you gave me said sweet potatoes. I wrote the blog based on that.”
“Change it, Sweetie.”
So I am. This wonderful, wonderful dessert is made with pumpkin, not sweet potatoes. Point of full disclosure: one of us at Cooking by the Book did make it with sweet potatoes and it was fine, but it was not the same as pumpkin. So, being obedient to my wife, make this first with pumpkin.
I know that the term bread pudding can generate a cringe. But, trust me, this bread pudding is great. The recipe below suggest raisin bread, but homemade challah is very, very much better.
My suggestion here is to double down on the Hard Sauce, just ladle it on and relish in the cornucopia of rich sweet flavor. You should pour it over the bread pudding, not into your mouth. Suzen got me trying, dribbling on my shirt again, and I was chastised.
On her first bite of this treat, Suzen said, “Oh, my God.” She’s okay with dessert, but is not a fanatic. This recipe is on her “Do Not Make” list, which mean I’ll have to beg and do work and things before we can both enjoy this. She and I would wolf it down by the bowlful.
You very well might consider this as dessert for a Sunday or holiday meal. Yes, you’ve had bread with your turkey stuffing. But, what if you went with rice for the stuffing and saved the bread for the whiskey? Just consider the possibility. And, you might just want to do a test run, too.
Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Whiskey Hard Sauce
Yield: 10 servings
For the sauce:
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon best-quality bourbon or rye
- pinch of salt
For the bread pudding:
- 8 cups torn or cubed stale raisin bread (about 1 large loaf)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon mace
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup pumpkin [the pie stuff]
To make the sauce, in a large bowl use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla, liquor and salt. Continue mixing until smooth and creamy. Cover and set aside.
For the bread pudding, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart baking dish or individual ramekins with cooking spray.
In a large bowl toss together the raisin bread with the pecans, then set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the granulated sugar, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and salt. Toss the sugar mixture over the bread and pecans, then stir well. Drizzle everything with the melted butter, then toss to evenly distribute.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, cream, eggs and brown sugar. Add the vanilla and sweet potatoes, then mix well. Pour the sweet potato-cream mixture over the bread mixture and stir until well blended. Let stand for about 5 minutes, then spoon into the prepared baking dish or ramekins.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes (bake ramekins for just 15 to 20 minutes), or until set.
As soon as the bread pudding comes out of the oven, top with hard sauce so that it melts into the crevices. Serve warm.
Source: Elizabeth Karmel