Crescent City Farmer's Market in New Orleans. Our parents were, and still are, cut flower vendors at the market, and Carolyn, my sister, and I would often go along with them on Saturday mornings to help them set up the display. We were excited about the prospect, even coming up with a name, Cute as a Button Baked Goods. This was my idea, as I thought we could create a signature cookie or cracker that looked like a button, plus the fact that someone had told us both that we were as cute as buttons. We made a list of what we baked best and set to work. One of the items was a cheese cracker that did, indeed, look like a button. It was a tasty little cracker, and I promise to post the recipe soon, but today's post is about our pièce de résistance, bread pudding, which is my Save Room for Dessert post, as well.
My mom always made bread pudding spiced with cinnamon and filled with pineapple, raisins, and apples, absolutely delicious. However, we wanted an uncommon bread pudding, an extremely rich and decadent bread pudding. "What about a chocolate bread pudding?" we asked each other. Good, we agreed, but what about double chocolate? Yes, even better, we thought. And, so, using mom's bread pudding recipe as a base, we created our Double Chocolate Bread Pudding. Instead of cinnamon, we used vanilla and orange extract. Instead of fruit, it was semi-sweet and white chocolate chips. Instead of milk, we used heavy cream. Only 4 eggs in mom's? Let's make it 6! French bread? Why use stale French bread? We'll use croissants! Oh yes, what was a lovely, delicious, and frugal dessert morphed into rich, decadent, and expensive dessert fit for a King. It was delicious, to be sure, although if you ate more than three bites, driving was not advised, as you became a bit light-headed from the richness. We had no doubt that our bread pudding was the "golden ticket" so to speak. Alas, we did not make the cut, and the recipe for our bread pudding was tucked away in my recipe binder. Well, it was tucked away until Sunday, when I found it purely by chance. I knew it would be a great submission for Save Room for Dessert, although it did require some polish. I chose to use three different chocolates, returned to mom's 4 eggs, reduced the heavy cream, and swapped out the croissants for French bread. This is just as delicious as I remember it, although I'm happy to say that the driving advisory has been removed, unless, of course, you use the whiskey sauce.
1 loaf stale French bread, cubed (about 8 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half-n-half
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon orange extract
6 tablespoons butter, melted & cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 squares bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4.25 oz Symphony bar, chopped
2 cups toasted and chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
The bread pudding cooks in a water bath, so you'll need 13x9 for the pudding itself, and a pan large enough to hold the 13x9 pan.
Began heating a pot of water - 4-6 cups, depending upon the size of the larger pan. The water does not need to boil, but it must be hot.
Butter a 13x9 pan and set inside the larger pan.
Place the bread cubes, chopped chocolate, and pecans into the buttered pan; make sure the chocolate and pecans are well-distributed.
In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, vanilla, zest, salt and extract; beat for 5 minutes until lemon-colored and thick.
Add both creams and the melted butter. Mix well.
Pour custard over bread cubes, using a spoon to press the cubes into the custard.
Carefully, pour the hot water into the larger pan; go slowly, as you don't want the water to splash into the bread pudding.
Very carefully, place into the preheated oven.
Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean. Begin testing at 60 minutes.
Serve warm with whiskey sauce, if desired.
1 1/2 cup milk
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cool water, stir until cornstarch has dissolved.
1/2-1 cup Jack Daniels or Southern Comfort
1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt
Cook milk, butter, and sugar over medium heat until sugar has dissolved.
Add salt, whiskey, and cornstarch mixture to sugar mixture and cool for 2 minutes, or until thickened.
Serve warm over bread pudding.