I must confess, I’ve never been a big bread pudding fan. I guess I’m a fair weather bread pudding eater — I like it if it’s good and think it’s pretty disgusting when it’s bad. Good bread pudding, in my mind, should be light, eggy, and fluffy. Too often, bread pudding is so dense and sugary that it’s like eating a brick of hardened custard. Gross.
My dad likes bread pudding, and so does my boyfriend, so I’ve tried to make it on a couple occasions. The first time, I used this Epicurious recipe by Maya Angelou. I don’t know why, but I just assumed that since Maya Angelou was a great poet that she would also be a great cook. Well, I was wrong. The bread pudding was just kind of blah, nothing special. It wasn’t custardy enough, and now that I look at it, it’s clear that the recipe needed more fat.
I forgot all about my bread pudding failures until last week. I had half of an enormous loaf of Italian bread from Heller’s Bakery and a potluck at 6, so I thought I’d try bread pudding again. This time, I based my pudding on a recipe for Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding from the Little Fountain Cafe in Adams Morgan. I didn’t have chocolate chips, so I chopped up some Ghiradelli bars and threw in some strawberries and amaretto. It was really freaking good. The texture is light, pleasantly eggy, and not to sweet. Plus you really can’t go wrong with strawberries and chocolate. This is my new bread pudding recipe and I’m sticking to it.
Chocolate Strawberry Bread Pudding
- 1 lb loaf of stale, white Italian sandwich bread (brioche or challah bread would also work), crusts removed and cut into 1″ cubes
- 6 tbsp butter, melted
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 lb of strawberries, diced into 1/2″ pieces
- 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 oz white chocolate, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 tbsp amaretto
- 1 1/4 cups half and half
- 3 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to350. Grease a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish.
2. Toss chopped strawberries with amaretto and set aside.
3. Place bread cubes in a bowl and toss with 4 tbsp of melted butter. Spread a layer of bread into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the chocolate and strawberries. Top with the remaining bread cubes.
4. In a bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, half and half, sugar, and vanilla. Pour egg mixture over the bread. Gently toss the mixture make sure everything is evenly coated. Allow to sit for at least 30 minute to allow the bread to absorb the egg. (You can make this up to 1 day ahead, just cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake it.)
5. Mix the brown sugar with the remaining 2 tbsp of melted butter. Drizzle over the top of the bread pudding. Bake until puffed, brown, and set in the center, about 45 minutes. This would be nice served with some fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream, but it’s also good all by itself.