When life gives you lemons, you’re supposed to make lemonade with them. (I prefer adding some vodka, but that’s just me…) So what do you do when life hands you a loaf of French bread? Make bread pudding, of course!
After attending the latest event put on by The Desultory Theatre Club, I was, in fact, in such a situation. I found myself walking back to my car with said loaf, discovering the Naugatuck River is no substitute for the Seine at night. In short, I felt far from being a Parisienne and was perplexed by what I should do other than slice that bad boy up and slather with butter. Which is perfectly acceptable, in my book. But it seemed too…boring. When life gives you a loaf of French bread, it’s clearly telling you to use that brain of yours for something and go with the flow. Do not accept the obvious choice.
So I didn’t. And I brainstormed. And bread pudding was suddenly on my mind. (Which is funny because I don’t ever make bread pudding… which made it all the more intriguing…) This could be no ordinary bread pudding, though. This required more creativity than that. And after perusing the contents of my pantry and refrigerator, I had it: the perfect preparation for this bounty I received. Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding.
I’ll admit, I got a little lazy in that first attempt (seen in the photos here) and poured the custard over the top of the assembled layers. Which isn’t really wrong, but you end up with crusty cubes on the top. Considering my texture issues, this was just fine with me, but if you want to go more traditional, follow the instructions in the recipe instead and let all the bread cubes soak in the custard first before assembling. Either way, it’s an amazing turn of a traditional treat. My kids devoured it. And asked for more.
I wonder how long I’ll have to wait until life hands me another loaf of French bread…?
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (for greasing)
- 3 cups organic half-and-half
- 3 large eggs
- 1¾ cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 loaf French bread, cut into 1"-2" cubes
- ¾ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup raspberry preserves
- 2 ounces full-fat cream cheese
- ½ cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- Grease a deep dish pie dish or 9"x13" baking dish thoroughly with the butter. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the half-and-half, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt until well blended. Add the bread chunks and toss to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes, tossing periodically to make sure the cubes all soak up enough custard.
- Spread a layer of soaked bread in the prepared pie dish.
- Sprinkle ⅓ of the chocolate chips over the bread chunks.
- Stir the raspberry preserves to loosen it and drizzle ⅓ of it over the bread chunks.
- Repeat 2 times and pour any remaining custard over the top.
- Press down, cover, and refrigerate for at last 2 hours, but overnight is better.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the custard has set.
- In a large mixing bowl beat the topping ingredients with a hand mixer.
- Drizzle about half of it over the top, saving the rest to drizzle over each serving as dished out.
- Serve warm.