From time to time… okay, often… I decide to embark on a culinary adventure. Sometimes it’s as simple as buying a new spice and trying it out on everything that I cook for a week or two. Usually it’s trying something I haven’t tried before. Lately it’s bread pudding. This is the second one I’ve made. The first was much the same, only with the zest of an orange rather than the cocoa powder. Both have come out delicious. I’ll give you the recipe of this one, if you’re interested in trying it out. It’s not as sweet as some bread puddings I’ve had. So pairing with ice cream or a sweet sauce of your own creation is recommended.
I am a ‘by eye’ home cook. By that, I mean: I am not a chef, I have never been a food service professional of any description, my understanding of recipes is that they are rough guidelines meant to be played with, and my concept of measuring ingredients is sloppy at best.
One loaf of french bread or similar (about a pound)
One loaf of rosemary olive oil bread (about a pound) (I’d have added the leaves of a healthy (what, maybe 3 or 4 inches long?) sprig of fresh rosemary, minced, if it hadn’t already been rosemary bread)
A stick of unsalted
7 large eggs
3 1/2, maybe 4 cups of milk (I measured 3 and freehanded the rest when the mixture was too dry. You want wet, but no free liquid wandering around)
Cocoa powder — I’m guessing I probably put half a cup in. Maybe a little more. It’s definitely chocolatey.
1 cup sugar
Molasses — at a guess, a quarter cup? I drizzled it in until I was happy with it.
Cayenne pepper — a pinch. Less than half a teaspoon, more than a quarter. You don’t want to taste it, you just want it in the background giving the chocolate a little boost.
Cut the bread roughly into cubes. Put about half of them into a large mixing bowl.
Melt the butter.
Drizzle the bread with melted butter and sprinkle with cocoa powder & cayenne.
Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl of their own.
Add the milk, sugar, and molasses to the milk and beat until the sugar dissolves.
Pour about half of it over the bread and mix it around a bit with your (clean) hands until the bread soaks up the liquid. This reduces the volume of the bread, giving you room to add more bread and liquid until it’s all in there. Try not to mix it up too much. You don’t want mush, you want the bread soaked but most of it still holding its shape.
Grease (butter, shortening, lard, or other edible solid cooking fat) the ramekin and flour it.
Put into a 350 degree oven and cook it until a knife plunged into its chocolatey heart comes out mostly but not completely clean, and hot.
Let it rest for half an hour on the counter.
Remove from ramekin, slice, and devour. If you haven’t tried it before, chocolate plays remarkably well with a bit of rosemary. If you want to try it with ice cream, I’d start with good old classic vanilla. I think it’d be a good counterpoint to the relatively aggressive and rich flavor of this bread pudding.
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