A few weeks ago, I was confronted with an entire spare loaf of challah one Sunday. I could have frozen it, of course, but I already had a challah in the freezer, and, if you saw the size of my freezer, you would know I certainly couldn't get another one in. So instead I thought aha! Bread Pudding! I've never actually made bread pudding before, but since I knew it started with a loaf of bread, how hard could it be? Turns out...not hard.
Start out, like I did, with a loaf of challah bread (or another similar bread). I cut it in to sort of cubes.
Then, in a sort of baked french toast way, you make the liquid it soaks in. This one has melted butter, eggs, milk, vanilla and sugar. Sounds healthy, right? And that's before the chocolate is added.
So after layering the challah and chocolate chips, I pour the mixture on top and let it sit to absorb before I bake it, about ten minutes.
Then I stick it in the oven, but tightly covered with foil. My guess for that reason is because everything is already cooked - i.e. the challah - we don't want it to burn before the egg mixture bakes.
We let it bake uncovered for the last ten minutes to get a little brown, and then let it cool.
All that's left after that is the chocolate ganache drizzle. I couldn't possibly give you my recipe for that, because I just mix the chocolate and cream (except I used soy milk instead of cream and it was delicious)
Overall, my first foray in to bread pudding was good, except I wouldn't really call this dessert. Minus the copious amounts of chocolate in this recipe, it's more of a breakfast/brunch food than dessert. I wouldn't really want this after a big meal - it's dense and eggy and bready - and while I'm not sure if those last two are real words, I think you know what I mean. Right?
Tip of the Day: Every dish will cool down quicker on a metal cooling rack. If you don't have tht, find something that will raise the dish off the counter so air can circulate underneath.
Recipe: (adapted from FoodNetwork.com)
4 cups milk, warmed (I used soy, any will do)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 loaf challah bread, cubed
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix the milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla together.
In a 9x13" dish lay 2/3 of the challah cubes down and sprinkle with half the chocolate chips. Top with remaining challah and chocolate chips.
Carefully pour the egg mixture over the challah, covering evenly.
Let stand 5 to 10 minutes, until most of the mixture is absorbed.
Wrap the dish tightly with foil and baked on 325 F for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until browned. Remove and let cool.
Drizzle with chocolate ganache - I made mine out of soy milk and semi-sweet chocolate.