Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow and a Chocolate Bread Pudding

According to the weatherperson, "it's" coming!  According to my husband, "it" isn't!!  What's coming or not?  Why the biggest snow storm ever for the Chicago area.  There are variables, according to the weatherman, to take into consideration.  Depending on the variable, the storm may go south....or north....or jump right over us and head to New York City.  Well, I made that part about NYC up.  And truly I don't wish any more snow on the Big Apple.

When one is faced with the possibility of really inclement weather, it's always good to prepare something fortifying just in case.  So far this snow season, we've had an inch here and there.  The temperatures have fallen into the single digits.  We have, however, been spared a humdinger of a storm.  I decided that a humdinger of a dessert was in order to give us strength for the possibility of lots of snow.  It will also  give Andrew strength to shovel whatever falls.  We invited the neighbors over to share the luscious treat.  After all, they are the ones with a snow blower.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

12-inch, day old, French baguette, cut into 1/3 inch slices and the slices halved
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup sugar
10 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Unsweetened whipped cream

1.  Butter a 3 quart souffle dish.  Place the bread into the dish.
2.  Heat the milk, half and half, sugar, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot but not boiling.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate.  Allow to stand for 2-3 minutes then whisk until smooth.  Lightly beat the eggs together and then slowly mix into the chocolate mixture until combined.  Stir in the vanilla.  Pour the mixture over the bread, press the bread down and allow to stand at room temperature for about one hour.
2.  Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
3.  Dot the top of the pudding with the bits of butter.
4.  Place the souffle dish into a larger pan.  Place on a rack in the middle of the oven.  Fill the pan with enough hot water to come up several inches on the souffle dish.  
5.  Bake about 45 minutes to an hour or until the edges are set and the center not quite set.  Cool to warm.  The pudding will continue to set as it cools.  
6.  Serve with the whipped cream.
7.  You may now proceed with snow removal.