Sue's Chocolate Bread Pudding (recipe as found in book, with personal comments)


3 - 1.5 - 2 pound loaves day-old brioche, crusts removed and cut into 1" cubes I used lots of challah, some sort of dark bread, bits of sourdough, Italian herb, whatever I had frozen or stale]
3 lbs bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 cups whole milk
2 cups sugar
10 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tbs vanilla extract
4 cups cold heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup granulated or raw sugar, for sprinkling [optional]


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Place bread cubes on large baking sheet, toast until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Combine half the chocolate and the milk in the top of a double boiler and melt the chocolate over simmering water that does not touch the bottom of the pan. Stir with a whisk. Set the remaining 1.5 pounds of chopped chocolate aside. [Do not eat]

3) Butter a 2-gallon ceramic baking dish [trust me on this -- two 1-gallon dishes would be much better -- can you imagine a dish twice the size of the one I brought in?] Place the toasted bread cubes in a single layer in the casserole. [Not gonna happen -- the casseroles are 'way higher than they are wide; but stacking the cubes didn't seem to hurt anyone's enjoyment!]

4) In a bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip together the sugar, eggs, cocoa, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth, creamy, and thick. [I don't have whisk attachments for my mixer; I used the old fashioned beaters.] The mixture will coat your finger in a thick layer and form very slowly dissolving ribbons that fall back into the bowl when the whisk is lifted out of the mixture. With a large balloon whisk, stir together the egg mixture, the cream, and the warm chocolate mixture. [Your  ordinary garden variety whisk works fine, as do old-time beaters at a  fairly slow speed.] Pour over the bread cubes, cover with plastic, and  refrigerate for 30 minutes to soak. At this point the pudding can be  refrigerated for up to 8 hours before continuing. Frankly, I kept mine  refrigerated overnight, and it didn't seem to do any harm!

 5) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Stir the remaining chopped  chocolate into the pudding and press down to make sure all the ingredients are soaked with the liquid. Sprinkle the top with the  butter. Optional -- sprinkle lightly with sugar.

6) Cover the pudding with foil that has been sprayed with  butter-flavored cooking spray. [I don't have this kind of spray, and just used plain foil.] Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the custard is set like a quiche and it wiggles slightly (a knife may not come out clean because of the pools of melted chocolate). Serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate and reheat  the next day in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes.