Tuesday, April 21, 2009

TWD: Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding



This week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe for Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding was chosen by Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle. I love bread pudding -- I will never forget the first time I tried the bread pudding souffle at Commander's Palace in New Orleans -- but I have never made it before. And my track record with the so-called "spoon desserts" I've made with TWD did not exactly leave me brimming with confidence going into this one. Some of my spoon desserts turned out more like "straw desserts;" others more like "shot glass" desserts. There have been the fugly mutant custards and the floating islands that reminded my husband of alka seltzer (in a good way). So I was really feeling the pressure to turn out a semi-respectable bread pudding, so as to not be permanently banished to the spoon dessert hall of shame.

The threshold question that must be asked before making any bread pudding is "what kind of bread?" Dorie suggests "brioche, challah or white," and there were all kinds of cool ideas floating around on the P&Q, including doughnuts. Oh yeah! But as soon as I saw that brioche was a good option for this bread pudding, I knew that it was time for me to roll up my sleeves and attempt to make Dorie's version of this rich, buttery bread that has long intrigued and intimidated me.

I made the brioche (and sticky buns with the other half of the dough). My loaf had a misshapen form and slightly overdone crust that only a mother could love:



But it looked much better when sliced



And it tasted delicious. I cut off the amount needed for a half recipe of this bread pudding, and let it sit out in the open air to "stale up" a bit. I kept checking it, but you know how the old saying goes, "a watched loaf never stales" -- so I ended up using Dorie's technique to speed up the staling process in the oven.

Once the bread is stale, cube it and throw it in a pyrex pan. Heat up some whole milk (I used 2% because that's what I had) and cream, and in a separate bowl whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. You know what's coming next, don't you? Milk heating, eggs in a separate bowl? Oh yes, that could only mean one thing -- "tempering the eggs so they don't curdle." I have a Pavlovian reaction (profanity) whenever I read those words, which is interesting because I think I actually have not curdled eggs much more than I've curdled them. But I always have this nagging feeling that the eggs are going to do what they are going to do regardless of anything I do in the hot-milk-pouring or whisking department. I guess I am an egg fatalist.

But my eggs did not curdle this time, and I continued pouring and whisking vigorously, and then added chopped chocolate to the mixture, whisking all the while.

ACTION SHOT!!!



Pour the custard over the bread. I apparently did not do as good of a job de-bubbling as I was supposed to.



And let the bread sit on the counter for 30 minutes, pressing down on the bread with the back of a spoon occasionally.

This gets baked in a water bath -- the bread pudding pan goes in a larger roasting pan, and then you pour hot water into the roasting pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the pudding pan. I managed to slosh some water into the pudding while I was pouring - I was apparently just being "careful," rather than "very careful," as Dorie advises. It's done in 35 to 45 minutes, or when "the pudding is uniformly puffed, the top is dull and dry and a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean."



The result? This was delicious! Unlike some of the other desserts we've made recently, this was chocolatey, but not insanely so. It was rich, comforting and satisfying, and there was no doubt that the brioche was the star of this pudding. This might be one of the first times I've ever disagreed with one of Dorie's serving suggestions -- she recommends serving this at cool room temperature or cold instead of warm, but I really loved it best warm (the warm pudding was especially good with homemade vanilla ice cream!)

Hubs doesn't eat chocolate, so I enlisted my kids to help me with this. My one year old loved it; my four year old would not try it; and my six year old tried one bite and said that it was really good, but then wouldn't eat any more. I must look like I have a fragile ego, though, because he went out of his way to reassure me that just because he wasn't eating it didn't mean that he didn't like it.



You can hop on over to Lauren's blog for the recipe. Thanks for the great pick, Lauren!

58 comments:

Cristine said...

It looks like it turned out great!

n.o.e said...

Congratulations for busting out of your spoon dessert doldrums. You might be an egg fatalist, but it seems that your eggs have decided to settle down and act respectable. Oooh, your action shot made me dizzy...

I hope that homemade ice cream (along with homemade brioche and homemade sticky buns!!) was enough to keep your husband happy and distracted while you enjoyed that fabulous bread pudding. I love the dense moist texture of yours. I increased the bread-to-custard ratio and kinda wish I hadn't. If I ever make brioche then I will use some of the leftovers for bread pudding.
Nancy

Megan said...

No more diva eggs for you! Congratulations.

My 9 year old wouldn't touch it, but my 11 year old asked for seconds! I think it's great and worth making again.

The Food Librarian said...

So lovely! And you made your own brioche! You are too good - I went to the deli. :) Yummy!

Steph said...

I'm glad you liked this. I'm not a crazy bread pudding fan myself. The brioche looks great. PS, I love your misshapened and slightly overdone brioche!

mike said...

Ok - that bread LOOKS sweet and delicious! I'm impressed that you made it! Everything looks perfect - I'll have to try the breadmaking next time!!

Natashya said...

Success! Great job, so happy you liked it. I am happy if I can please one kid, the rest can fend for themselves..

Mary Ann said...

Yeah!! You loved it! I am so happy. I am sure it tasted wonderful with the homemade brioche. My 2-year old couldn't get enough of this one either.
I love the action shot of the custard....

Amanda said...

I completely agree it was better warm! I am a fan on vanilla custard bread pudding, but I really liked this one too. It was even better drizzled with chocolate sauce or cream anglaise!

Audrey said...

Oh, yes, warm. And your son is precious. My niece (when she was 9 or so, and wouldn't eat something I made), once said that it was because it was " adult" food and she would probably like it when she was older. Can you get arrested for serving that to a minor? Anyway, I'm glad too that your eggs behaved and you liked this, especially since you have New Orleans bp to measure it against.

Jessica said...

I completely agree with you, this was best warm in my book. I didn't actually try it cold but I know that it has to be best warm. Congratulations on a fantastic looking bread pudding.

Lady Baker said...

looks FABULOUS, Cath! the brioche, the bread pudding, AND home made ice cream to boot! The photos are great, makes me want to break off a hunk of brioche and have with my coffee!

Sabrina said...

You made your own bread? You are awesome!! Nice job!!!!

AmyRuth said...

Ah Mom, don't worry....those little boys always and forever love Mommy! Great job and yes I agree I think the bread choice is key with this recipe. I used Challah although I was not as energetic as you and I bought mine. Man you make us look bad around here. Great job! So glad you liked it.
AmyRuth

Michelle said...

Good idea on the making the brioche and serving it with ice cream!

Great job!

dharmagirl said...

i'm bowing to you and your homemade brioche...i lacked the brio to make my own bread (though i've made brioche before and it's worth all the effort, isn't it?). i may be making the sticky buns for work on thursday, though, and that means i must make the brioche...

anywho, congrats on the egg/custard situation. i too was a bundle of nerves as hot milk met beaten eggs...visions of that banana cream custard danced through my head, but like you the custard was silky smooth this time.

farah said...

Wow.....you made your own brioche, i take my imaginary hat off to you :) Good job. It looks delicious and i'm so glad you enjoyed it. I liked it best warm too :)

myfamousrecipe said...

Way to temper those eggs with authority! You can now officially reclaim spoon dessert credibility. It looks great, especially warm with ice cream!

Katherine Aucoin said...

You crack me up and I feel you pain with baking especially stuff like this. I am so glad it came out for you. you are giving me the courage to try this. I would love to be able to make a decent brioche or challah. Between you and me, I would have asked for a second peice because it looks that good!

I hope the chicken comes out great tonight!

vibi said...

LOL LOL LOL The alka seltzer, the action shot, the fragile ego... man! You kill me! LOL Coming here and reading you is better than taking vitamins, I swear! A full daily boost of adrenalyn!

I'm glad you enjoyed the pudding and think you were very courageous to bake your own brioche to make it! (well, that of course, is coming from someone who cannot for the life of her, bake any bread without turning it into rock solid stone!!!)

dorie said...

Love both your brioche and your pudding. If you thought that your brioche had looks only a mother could love, then clearly I'm a mom -- I thought it looked terrific.

Kimberly Johnson said...

Your bread pudding and brioche look wonderful!

Karen said...

I love that you made your own bread for this! :) It looks really delicious!

Pamela said...

How sweet of your son to reassure you! It does look wonderful, Cathy. I am thinking that I may have too much bread for the amount of custard. Like I said, it was good but not my favorite. You rocked it, though!

Teanna said...

"A watched loaf never stales" hahah I have never heard of that, but I'd like to adopt it as my new mantra! The pudding looks awesome! Glad you loved it and your six year old sounds like he has a heart of gold!!!

Katrina said...

Woohooo a comment from Dorie herself, you lucky duck! Guess that's what you get for making your own brioche and a killer chocolate pudding. Love your photos!

Sara said...

What a sweetheart your 6 yr old is, that is so cute. Your pudding looks really good. I skimmed the bubbles off of mine because it was so bubbly.

pinkstripes said...

I think your brioche loaf looks fantastic! Perfectly golden. I'm glad the pudding was a success for you.

Is your vanilla ice cream from the perfect scoop?

Peggy said...

You have gone far and above what I could ever hope to accomplish in baking. Making your own brioche. I'm so totally impressed I can't stand it. How can I possibly succeed now in keeping up with you? It's back to the baking board for me. :) It all looks fabulous Cathy. And a comment from Dorie herself. Wow.

bakingwiththeboys said...

Homemade brioche? Rockstar. Dirty little secret - we didn't even offer it to the kids. Colin was a definite pass but Will may have enjoyed it....maybe next time, kiddo.

Kayte said...

Oh, I love that...just because he didn't eat it didn't mean that he didn't like it...how precious is that???? I think Hubs and I would get along just fine...we would be the ones at the dinner party not eating the chocolate desserts and discussing off-beat and exceptionally great reading choices...LOL. Your pudding looks wonderful, and I think you can rest assured you are no longer a candidate for the Hall of Shame. Very fun post, as always.

leanne said...

At least it's your kids that say that to you and not your husband. Your homemade bread looks delicious. Great job.

Jennifer said...

Until I read your post I had no idea that I skipped the crucial de-bubbling step! (I remember reading it about it, but also remember forgetting to do it!)

I'm so impressed that you made the brioche. I don't have a stand mixer, so I've been super wimpy about trying it!

The Blonde Duck said...

Love the action shot!

Elra said...

Honestly, this look so good, my mouth water, and am tempted to make it too.
Cheers,
elra

Engineer Baker said...

Hehe - love the "action shot." The end product looks pretty fabulous, and kudos for making brioche just to make this!

Secret Server said...

Good for you with your success with the brioche and the pudding! Both look great.

Jill said...

The brioche looks great, and the pudding with ice cream on top looks even better! This is a bad month for your non-chocolate-eating husband!

What's for Supper? said...

I had to laugh at your 6 year old's comment. My 5 year old does the exact same thing whenever I make a TWD dessert. He says that it is really good, but only has a bite or two. I tell him that it is OK that he doesn't like it. He always reassures me that it is good though. He just doesn't want any more.

Elyse said...

Your kids are hysterical. I love that your six-year old is trying to comfort you and reassure you that your desserts are awesome. What a sweetie! Your bread pudding looks totally delish! Look at you overcoming your phobia of spoon desserts (and tempering, for that matter). You did an awesome job. I would looove to have some of this bread pudding!

Maria said...

My hubs doesn't like chocolate that much either. That means more for me, which can be a bad thing:) Looks like a nice and comforting dessert. Nice job!

Di said...

I love reading the reactions of your kids. It makes me feel like I'm not alone. =) Gillian eats most things. Brianna, like Jacob, will frequently take a bite or two of something, say that she likes it, but then decide she doesn't want to eat it.

I really want to make brioche again. Okay, really I just want an excuse to make the brioche raisin snails again.

Amber Marie said...

It's amazing how many people took one look and wouldn't go for it...glad those who did enjoyed! This looks scrumptious!

Tracey said...

I thought this recipe was really delicious too! And I agree - I preferred it warm! Your posts alway crack me up :)

Leslie said...

This looks delicious, but that's not surprising since you made your own brioche and it has chocolate. Destined for greatness! I opted for the lazy route. I totally agree this was better warm. Cold was still delicious, but not hide it from the rest of the family good.

Amanda said...

Congrats on no scrambling of your eggs! I too made my own brioche. I used a bit more bread so the liquid didn't cover it all before baking. Yours looks delicious!

natalia said...

Wow Cathy you really went a long way for this pudding ! I have some sticky buns in the making (?) too !

spike. said...

I can't believe you made brioche! What an overachiever. I'm a little jealous

Pam said...

Oh Cathy, why can't I be your neighbor? This looks outstanding - I love bread pudding.

Bridgett said...

Bread pudding is one of my husbands favorite and this reminds me I don't make it often enough. This looks perfectly delicious!

Piggy said...

I agree with you that the bread pudding tasted great when it's warm. Yours looks really good!

shortbreadsouth.com said...

I liked it warm best, too. Some ice cream would have been great!

We were on the same brain wave with this one - I made some brioche dough and part of it is in the freezer waiting to become sticky buns!

LyB said...

You've reminded me that it's been way too long since I've made Dorie's brioche and Sticky Buns. I'll have another excuse to make bread pudding with the leftovers! :) Your pudding looks fantastic, I'd have a slice, warm with vanilla ice cream any day!

TeaLady said...

I am so glad you are over your spoon catastrophie. Congrats. And you made Dorie's Brioche. I am impressed. Your pudding looks fantabulous with that scoop of ice cream. Way To Go!!!

Jacque said...

I really enjoyed the brioche (alone) too... it was so buttery!

Wow, I'm jealous of your Commander's Palace bread pudding experience, I'll bet it was fab.

I'm glad you enjoyed the BP :)

SUGAR B said...

Awesome bread pudding there! Love the storytelling pics!

Liz said...

Three cheers for warm chocolatey bread pudding! Glad that you loved it--we can feed each other's addictions and work our way into a shameful downward spiral. Meet you at the bottom!

Cakelaw said...

Great job Cathy! I am so impressed that yopu made your own brioche - I don't think it looks mis-shapen or overdone, it looks golden and delicious.

 
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