In this decadent, Valentine's Day-worthy dessert, bread cubes are soaked in a rich chocolate custard and ribboned with another layer of chocolate before being baked off and served warm with a drizzle of raspberry sauce.
1/2teaspooninstant coffee granules or espresso powder
4eggsat room temperature
3/4cupfirmly packed brown sugar
2teaspoonspure vanilla extract
1 1/2cupswhole milkat room temperature
1cupheavy creamat room temperature
6cupscubed stale French bread
1/2cupseedless raspberry jamwarmed until thin
Fresh whipped cream
Melt 1 cup chocolate chips by putting in microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each interval until smooth (it should take about 1 1/2 minutes total for chocolate to melt). Stir instant coffee granules into warm melted chocolate and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Beat in brown sugar and vanilla. Blend in cooled, melted chocolate until mixture is very smooth. Gradually stir in milk and cream and mix well. Fold bread cubes into milk mixture and set aside to soak for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that bread is evenly soaked.
While bread is soaking, preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-cup capacity baking dish (such as an 8- by 8-inch square dish or a deep 9-inch round dish) with butter.
Scoop half of the soaked bread mixture into prepared baking dish. Evenly sprinkle with 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Pour remaining soaked bread on top of chocolate chips and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top.
Bake for about an hour or until center is set. Start checking for doneness at about the 45 minute mark and then every 5 minutes thereafter.
Drizzle raspberry jam over the top of the bread pudding and onto serving plates, if desired. Serve warm with whipped cream.
To lighten up this recipe, all milk may be used in place of the heavy cream. Also, 2% milk may be substituted for whole milk.
All ingredients should be at room temperature so that the melted chocolate does not re-solidify when it hits cold milk/cream/eggs.
You may decrease or omit the coffee/espresso granules if you are afraid of tasting them, but they mainly serve to enhance the flavor of the chocolate.
Variation ~ KAHLUA CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING:
Replace 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 cup Kahlua coffee liqueur
Beat 1-2 teaspoons Kahlua into 1 cup heavy cream for Kahlua Whipped Cream garnish