My Favorite Bread Pudding

By Beacon Staff

My experiences in the culinary world have expanded more than 45 years, and during my career, I have had the privilege of preparing meals for royalty, United States presidents and the rich and famous. One of my fondest career highlights was working as the director of food and beverage at The Waldorf-Astoria in New York City for four years during the early 90s. My executive chef and very close friend Chef John Doherty and I always would try enhancing our repertoire of basic dishes, and nothing illustrates this better than bread pudding. Beyond the more popular bread pudding versions such as vanilla bread pudding with bourbon sauce or banana bread pudding with chocolate sauce is Chef Doherty’s special recipe for chocolate bread pudding with vanilla sauce, which I think steals the show.

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce (Yield 6 servings)
four/five-day-old croissants cut into ¾ inch cubes
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla Sauce:
8 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square oven-proof Pyrex or ceramic dish. (Be sure baking dish is at least 2 inches deep.)

Prepare bread by lightly browning cubed croissants on a cookie sheet pan in an oven. Melt chocolate in a stainless steel bowl over a sauce pan of boiling water, or melt in microwave for approximately 35 to 45 seconds. While croissants are still warm, toss them in melted chocolate and place in buttered baking dish. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Prepare custard by pouring milk and cream into sauce pan. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, and scald by bringing to a slight boil. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding scalded milk/cream mixture while whisking vigorously.

Strain mixture over chocolate cubed croissants and mix together. Place mixture into a water bath by filling baking dish at least half full of water. Place in oven, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. You will know when the pudding is ready when you slide a toothpick into the center and the toothpick comes out clean.

The final step is preparing the sauce. First, prepare an ice bath for cooling the sauce. Combine eggs, vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar in a mixing bowl and set aside. Pour milk and cream into saucepan. Add remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and place pan over medium heat. Scald mixture. Follow by slowly adding milk and cream mixture to egg mixture and whisk vigorously. Pour into sauce pan and bring to 165 degrees or until sauce coats the back of a spoon. Once this step is complete, immediately place sauce pan in ice bath and cool. Here’s a special serving tip: Strain sauce in a fine strainer. Dish out the pudding with a scoop and pour sauce on top.

I hope you will try this delicious recipe that some of our society’s elite have enjoyed. Please email me your comments to [email protected]. Bon appétit!