19 November 2006

Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with Cognac and Cointreau

Chocolate Bread Pudding, from 2006

Funny how traditions start: For me, this is a chocolate time of year. It began one Thanksgiving when I was stuck in Madison, with a weekend job and an anthropology paper due Monday.

The paper was a critique of Laurence Wylie's "A Village in the Vaucluse," a look at rural Provence around 1950. But on Thanksgiving Day, after consuming a chicken dinner for one (I had no invitations that year, but that suited me fine), I spent the long afternoon reading Colette's "Claudine."

And at dusk, I ate a hastily-thrown together chocolate soufflé. Somehow, Colette makes me crave chocolate. So does November, when darkness comes early bringing with it a chill and on windy nights, the sound of dead leaves scuttling across the pavement.

So tonight, with my mom coming for supper, we had chocolate bread pudding for dessert. It has a layered taste, not unlike wine. Fresh out of the oven, the pudding offered an aftertaste of ripe olives, my husband thought. Warmed over, it tasted very decadent.

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Cognac and Cointreau
  • 4 cups stale French or Italian bread
  • 4 large eggs
  • one cup sugar 
  • 1/2-cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup cognac
  • 1/4 cup cointreau
  • 1 - 1 2/2 cups quality semi-sweet chocolate pieces

If the bread is very dry, soak it in two percent milk.  While bread is soaking, combine all other ingredients in a large bowl. Add the bread to the bowl and allow the entire mix to stand for a while, even overnight in the refrigerator, if you like.

Pour into greased casserole or large soufflé dish. I used two medium-sized ramekins and four small ones. Bake in a preheated, 325 oven until puddings are slightly firm —— about 30 minutes (but check frequently).

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and top candied orange peel. I served mine plain, and they were fine.

When I lived in Green Bay a decade or so ago, my friends and I used to go to a wonderful downtown restaurant called "La Bonne Femme," where the dessert menu included a deep chocolate cream dish. On November days, that was always what I wanted.

16 comments:

veuveclicquot said...

Oh my!! These look so delicious! Love Cognac & Cointreau. :)

Mimi said...

Really, these bread puddings were almost sinful.

Anonymous said...

These look delicious. Bet cointreau and cognac make it too hard to resist :)

Tanna said...

Cognac & Cointreau and chocolate - yea, how could it miss.
Great story.

Mimi said...

I guess you can buy the two drinks pre-blended now for a fairly hefty price. I had a small amount of Cointreau but I'll have to buy more or use Triple Sec next time.

To me, this dessert tastes like the way the sun pours in from the west on November afternoons — rich!

Thanks so much for visiting!

cheflooey said...

you dont often think of bread pudding as elegant but this one sounds like it is - nice!

Tomato & Basil Café said...

Hey Mimi...Nice job with the blog...this looks tasty.

christine said...

Wow Mimi! I've been remiss in my blog visiting and you've gone and made a gorgeous bread pudding. This should not be on the list of things I can eat, but I'm going to save the recipe anyway, for a special time. Thank you!

Mimi said...

It's not on my list either, Christine.

But, once a year — why not? My mother really loved it.

Fiona said...

This bread pudding looks fabulous, I would definitely add the cream - or even ice cream to my serving.

You are doing a wonderful job here Mimi.

Mimi said...

Thanks, Fiona. When will we see a New Zealand food blog?

Fiona said...

Unfortunately I'm not into cooking with the same enthusiasm - though I do appreciate good food ! :)

Mimi said...

Ah, but you could combine food with something else.

Fiona said...

I could ;)

There are a number of kiwi food blogs on the internet now. There is definitely a lot of interest in food and cooking on-line.

Hilty-Bob said...

Thanks for this excellent recipe. I made it with whole wheat bread moistened with apple cider, and then followed the recipe exactly (although I cut the cognac down to 1/4 cup). I baked it in a rectangular pan for 40 minutes and it came out delicious!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Sounds wonderful! Thanks for the feedback.