Chocolate Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries and Brandied Cream Sauce
It started out as a plain old-fashioned bread pudding on the Sunday brunch menu at a hotel in Washington, DC. The chef at the time, Greggory Hill, decided to use, instead of the traditional bread, the day-old croissants left over from the previous breakfast. Then, tasting Venezuelan chocolate for the first time, he somehow thought the chocolate would go well with the flavor of dried cherries. The dark rich chocolate, buttery croissants, and tart cherries all combined to make one of the best bread puddings I have ever tasted. Greggory still serves this dish at his current restaurant, David Greggory, in Washington. This is a surprisingly easy recipe and a highlight of Sunday brunch.
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
OccasionBuffet, Cooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party
Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturechocolatey, creamy, fruity, rich, sweet, winey
Type of Dishpudding
- ½ cup dried cherries
- ½ cup brandy (or enough to soak the dried cherries)
- 1 vanilla bean
- 6 cups heavy cream
- 12 egg yolks
- 1½ cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 day-old or frozen croissants (2½ ounces each)
- 4 tablespoons coarsely grated bittersweet chocolate
Six hours before starting this recipe, put the dried cherries in a small bowl and cover with the brandy.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and oil an 8-by-8 or comparable baking pan.
Split and scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and put both pods and seeds in a saucepan with the heavy cream. Let them steep over a very low heat for about 10 minutes, then remove the vanilla bean.
Place the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a bowl and mix well. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the hot cream, then strain into a large bowl. Pour about a third into the top of a double boiler.
Break the croissants into 4 pieces each and submerge them in the remaining cream and egg sauce in the mixing bowl. Let soak for about 10 minutes so that the croissants can absorb the liquid.
Transfer the contents of the bowl to the baking pan. Reserving the brandy, drain the cherries and dot the bread pudding with them.
Sprinkle the chocolate on top and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until set.
Meanwhile, add the reserved brandy to the remaining cream sauce in the double boiler and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Serve the warmed custard in a serving bowl and spoon over the bread pudding.
2005 Joan Nathan