Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sweet Treats

I hope everyone had a happy V-Day! A forced holiday? Perhaps, but when the occasion practically demands one to consume decadent desserts, I'm there. The bouquet of golden-peach colored roses and chocolate bars the BF gave me have also brought a smile to my face. Even with 10 foot ceilings, the blooms still successfully fill the apartment with a fresh, floral scent. I wish my house plants could do that! 

Our version of romance is to cook dinner together, which we do often and then dine at the kitchen table, which we do rarely. A fine meal of mussels, crusty bread and a bottle of riesling was enjoyed, then, for the grand finale, I made chocolate bread pudding with rum caramel sauce and raspberries. I had recently found myself the proud owner of a yummy day-old baguette from the King Arthur bakery so I was relieved that it didn't have to go to waste. It took me much too long to realize that bread and chocolate are made for each other. A baguette with a chocolate bar in the middle was my father's all time favorite treat during his childhood in Paris but I had never quite understood unti I made this amazing confection. Not too sweet but still divinely fudgy, a touch of caramel and fruit is all you need. Oh, and it makes a lovely breakfast too!

::Chocolate Bread Pudding::
Adapted from This Classical Life
1 day-old baguette, cut into 1" cubes
2 c. half and half
1/3 c. sugar
dash salt
1/2 tbs. instant espresso powder
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1) Butter an 8" x 8" baking dish and add bread cubes. Bread should almost fill the pan.
2) Heat half and half, sugar, salt and espresso powder until hot (but not boiling) whisking regularly to mix well. 
3) Remove from heat, add chocolate, let stand one minute. Whisk until smooth. 
4) Beat eggs and cinnamon together in a separate bowl , then slowly add chocolate mixture, whisking as you go. 
5) Pour mixture over bread and let soak at room temperature for 45 minutes. All bread cubes should be covered in the chocolate mixture so mix gently as needed to ensure even coverage.
6) Preheat oven to 325°F. Boil some water for a hot water bath. Place pudding dish in a larger dish, adding hot water to fill the pan halfway. Bake in this hot water bath until edge is set but center still trembles slightly, 35-40 minutes.
7) Let pudding rest for 15 minutes before serving. 

::Rum Caramel Sauce::
Adapted from Food & Wine
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 1/2 tsp. honey
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. dark rum

1) Bring sugar, water and honey to a rolling boil, brushing down the pot sides with water periodically. Cook for 5-7 minutes until mixture turns amber colored. This happens all of a sudden so watch the pot closely.
2) Remove from heat and stir in the cream. The cream will sizzle and steam at first but be persistent and keep stirring to incorporate.
3) Let sit for one minute and stir in the rum. 
4) Return pot to heat at a gentle boil for another minute.
5) Let cool for about 5 minutes (sticking it outside in the cold helps too!) before spooning onto the bread pudding.
6) Top with berries and enjoy!


  1. Your version looks delicious! I've been thinking I need to make jambalaya and chocolate bread pudding this weekend as its mardi gras... I think this is pushing me over the edge.

  2. Hi Kristen,
    Thanks for stopping by and so glad this has provided some good motivation :) Best of luck for mardi gras!


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