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MainRecipesCake | Four-Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

   Four-Star Chocolate Bread Pudding submitted by Mom Johnson
This recipe from "Baking: My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan is not a "pretty" dish. However...the texture and flavor is wonderful! I would have been tempted to eat it warm from the oven...but wait to chill it and serve with fluffy whipped cream...it's worth the wait!

Have a 9x13 inch baking pan at hand as well as a roasting pan big enough to hold the baking pan in hot water. Line the roasting pan with a double thickness of paper towels.

Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. If the bread is stale, put it and the cherries into the baking pan. If it is NOT stale, spread it out on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven to "stale" it for 10 minutes, then toss into the pan with the dried fruit.

Bring the milk and cream just to a boil.

Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar together in a bowl. Still whisking, slowly drizzle in about 1/4 of the hot milk mixture - this will temper or warm the eggs so they don't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the rest of the hot milk. Add the chocolate and whisk it in gently until it is melted and the custard is smooth. Rap the bowl against the counter to pop any bubbles that might have formed, then pour the custard over the bread and press the bread gently with the back of a spoon to help cover it with liquid. Leave the pan on the counter, giving the bread the back-of-the-spoon treatment now and then, for 30 minutes.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the baking dish holding the unbaked pudding into the roasting pan and then slide the pan setup into the oven and very carefully pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the pudding pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the pudding is uniformly puffed, the top is dull and dry and a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Trnasfer the baking pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.

You could serve this pudding warm, but it is even better at cool room temperature or even chilled...it also cuts better when cold. Serve the pudding simply with a dusting of powdered sugar or less simply with vanilla (or rum or Grand Marnier or brandy) creme anglaise, chocolate sauce, or whipped cream or creme fraiche.

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v 12 oz. bread (I used Hawaian sweet bread)
v 1/2 cup moist and plumped dried cherries
v 3 cups whole milk
v 1 cup heavy cream
v 3 large eggs
v 4 large egg yolks
v 1/2 cup sugar
v 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

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