Pudding varies from region to region, and there are such a wide range of puddings from christmas pudding, summer pudding, rice pudding, bread pudding, blood pudding, etc. I enjoy the kind of bread pudding that has a custardy filling which usually comes from combining eggs, milk (or cream), vanilla, sugar, and spices. Sauces are optional, but a definite treat!
This chocolate pudding I made last night was simply a way for me to savage my forgotten day-old loaf of organic baguette I bought from Wholefoods, and I wanted to make something fun out of it. Here's the recipe I tried from an old issue of Gourmet and the sauce was from Bon Appetite. I made little changes by adding cinnamon to the bread pudding and upped the Bailey's (HIC!) on the sauce.
1 (15-inch) piece day-old baguette, cut into 1/3-inch slices, then slices halved crosswise (4 cups)
2 cups cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
10 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into bits
Accompaniment: Bailey's cream sauce
Generously butter a 3-quart soufflé dish. Put bread in dish.
Heat cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and add chocolate, then let stand 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Lightly beat eggs together in a large bowl and slowly add chocolate mixture, whisking until combined. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Pour mixture over bread and let soak at room temperature, pressing bread down occasionally, 1 hour.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.
Dot top of pudding with butter bits. Bake in a hot water bath until edge is set but center still trembles slightly, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool pudding to warm in dish on a rack. (Pudding will continue to set as it cools.)
2 cups heavy cream
8 tbs Irish cream liqueur
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp water
Bring cream, liqueur, sugar, and vanilla to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Mix cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water in small bowl to blend; whisk into cream mixture. Boil until sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Cool, then cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
Bread pudding recipe adapted from Gourmet
Sauce recipe adapted from Bon Appetite
Note: Very rich and full of chocolate flavor. Definitely fixed my chocolate cravings! I love the Bailey's cream sauce with it as it adds to the wonderfully decadent sensation. This two lovely combination made a lovely adult dessert.