Back when I was a child, my first experience with bread pudding was through my Tita Julie, who is the mom of one of my dearest friends, Joie. Joie and I met before kindergarten and soon became friends and are still friends even nearly 30 years later. Her mom, my Tita Julie, would make this wonderful bread pudding for any social gathering our families attended and it was truly delicious! Joie and her family moved to California sometime around our high school years and along with Joie went Tita Julie's bread pudding.
I had a bread pudding-less life until the past few years when I saw it at a restaurant and ordered it to somehow get a taste of Tita Julie's bread pudding... or something close. It was then when I began to fall in love with bread pudding all over again since it brought back memories of the times I spent with Joie. Nowadays, I enjoy making bread pudding whenever I have leftover bread and I like to change it up by infusing different flavors such as strawberry, bananas foster or whatever comes to mind. And with each and every time I make or enjoy bread pudding at a restaurant, I always think of Joie and my Tita Julie...
Dorie's Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding is amazing. This was my first attempt at making a chocolate bread pudding and Dorie's recipe is pretty much fail-proof. Her recipe involves whisking sugar, whole eggs and egg yolks together...
...and slowly adding a warm mixture of whole milk, heavy cream and finely chopped bittersweet chocolate to create a custard.
This custard is then poured into a baking dish filled with cubed, stale bread. The baking dish is then set into a larger roasting pan filled half way with hot water and baked.
I haven't made bread pudding using a water bath before, but it allowed for the chocolatey custard to bake up to a nice creamy texture and is wonderfully rich and not too sweet.
An optional ingredient to Dorie's recipe was to add raisins or even dried cherries. I opted not to add either since I wanted nothing but custard soaked bread this time around. I would think any fruit that pairs nicely with chocolate could be added or even nuts would work well.
I made the recipe as is in 3 small loaf pans instead of a large baking dish and I also used semi-sweet chocolate chips in place of bittersweet chocolate. I think this helped add some additional sweetness since I didn't use the optional dried fruit in the recipe. A simple garnish of powdered sugar and a plump red strawberry completed the dish!
For the recipe, check out Lauren's blog, A Baking Blog aka Upper East Side Chronicles. To see how the recipe came out for other fellow Tuesdays With Dorie bakers, be sure to pop here!