Thursday, January 24, 2013

Midweek Food Musings: Thinking about Sweet Stuff...Like Warm Chocolate!

Maybe it’s the Arctic north weather that we’re experiencing here in New York (okay, yes, I know it’s January!), but seems like my desire for all things sweet is going up...especially warm chocolate-coffee treats.

So, my friends, today I’m sharing one of my top ten dessert recipes. This one comes from my dear friend, Chef Rafael Palomino, and was published in our latest collaborative effort: Latin Grill.
Semisweet Chocolate and Coffee Brioche Bread Pudding from Latin Grill--Photo by Dan Goldberg  

I remember when I was doing my recipe testing with this one. It was springtime (ah, remember spring?!), and my house was filled with the wafting aroma of chocolate. Freshly baked, warm, and served nestled against fresh vanilla ice cream, I was smitten...and dying to share it with someone, but nobody was in my house!  So I ran outside, and called on my lovely back-door neighbor, Katie.
 “Katie,” I called breathlessly, “you MUST try this!”

And, being the good neighbor and food lover that she is, she acquiesced!  After one bite, Katie—like me—was in love.

Semisweet Chocolate and Coffee Brioche Bread Pudding

Makes about 8 servings

2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated, 1/2 pound (half a pound bag) of semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vanilla
5 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
1/2 loaf brioche, about 8 ounces, or 4 rolls, torn or sliced into bite-size pieces (or challah bread, crust removed and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces)

In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and chocolate, and cook, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Let cool slightly.

In a medium-size bowl, combine the eggs with the sugar and whisk together. Add the chocolate mixture and the coffee liqueur. Continue whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Ladle the mixture over the brioche and let stand, covered loosely, at room temperature for at least 1 hour. (You also have the option of covering and chilling the bread mixture overnight.)

Preheat the oven to 325º F. Butter an 8-inch baking pan. (You can also bake this pudding in individual ramekins, but the cooking time will be shorter, about 25 minutes.)

Put the baking pan in a larger pan so you can make a bath; add enough hot water to the larger pan to reach halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake the pudding in the middle of the oven until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes. (But begin checking doneness after 50 minutes.) Serve the pudding warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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