Inga's Indulgence

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread...

When I was little, my mother told me to never throw away bread. I don't remember whether she meant that this was a bad omen, or just didn't want me to be wasteful, but it kind of stuck with me. Today, I continue the practice for my own reasons; sometimes I think about starving children in third world countries, and sometimes I just can't bring myself to throw out something as beautiful and profound as bread.

Yesterday, I made brioche french toast for my cookbook photo shoot, and was left with mounds of brioche scraps. Now I would be perfectly content just snacking on these scraps all week, but something told me to take this rich, buttery, sweet bread to the next level. I made bread pudding - a dessert that, in my opinion, can  be a vestibule for any sort of flavors. My flavors of choice were chocolate and hazelnuts...mmm.

With the help of some milk and eggs, I was able to make this decadent dessert between burping and changing baby Zelli.

Here's what I used:
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
3 tbsp honey 
2 cups whole milk
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups brioche bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (you can use hallah bread as well) 
butter, as needed (for greasing)

1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler: Fill a heavy saucepan with 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place chopped chocolate into a medium bowl, and rest bowl on top of saucepan. Stir occasionally, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in the chopped hazelnuts and honey. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add bread and cooled chocolate mixture. Stir to coat all of the bread cubes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a rectangular or oval baking pan. Pour soaked bread into pan, making sure to get all of the liquid from the bottom of the bowl.  

Place pan into a large roasting pan, and fill roasting pan with water to reach halfway up the sides of the smaller pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, until top is set, but not too firm. Serve warm or room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

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