A Post Revisited: Pain au Chocolat Pudding with Cranberries

Cranberries, not apples, are Wisconsin's No. 1 fruit crop, according to the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers' group, and these tangy red nuggets are responsible for creating 3,400 jobs in the Badger State. This year, they are especially plentiful, and in fact, more than half of the world's cranberry supply comes from Wisconsin. 

This heavenly concoction of cranberries and chocolate is my all-time favorite posts. From 2006:

In the 1990s, I worked in advertising and public relations in a larger city. One of my jobs each fall was to write copy for a small bakery that specialized in Christmas desserts and cheesecakes.

The owner, a San Francisco native who knew her sweets, offered fabulous fruit-and-chocolate combinations laced with rum and bourbon and dappled with nuts: Dark chocolate and pumpkin, bittersweet chocolate with cherry, milk chocolate and raspberry and many, many more.

Unusual flavor pairings were not as common as they are today. I was not only intrigued by the imaginative flavor marriages, I began to crave sweets. Usually, I succumbed, at least once. Fortunately, the bakery offered dessert by the slice.

It's that time of year again. I had a lot of hard French rolls from LaBrea Bakery in my freezer and a bag of cranberries and I wanted to use them up. I adapted this dessert from Epicurious. The original calls for six cups of torn-up croissants.

Pain Au Chocolate Pudding with Cranberries
  • 6 cups stale bread, rolls or croissants, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 1-2 cups milk, depending on how hard the rolls are
  • 5 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate baking chips
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar or fructose
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into bits
  • pinch sea salt
If bread or rolls are hard, soak them in milk for about an hour.

While rolls are soaking, butter a shallow baking dish or casserole dish and chop cranberries.

Once the rolls have softened, break them into small pieces and arrange half in one layer in baking dish. Layer with chocolate and then cranberries. Top with remaining rolls, shiny side up.

Blend eggs, sugar, milk, cream, vanilla, and salt and pour slowly and evenly over bread. Dot pudding with butter bits and sprinke with salt. Chill for at least an hour.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until top is golden brown and bubbly.

Note: If sugar and calories are not an issue for you, serve this with a hot sauce made of heavy cream and chocolate or concoct one on your own. I think an orange-chocolate sauce would be nice.

The pudding is sweet, but the cranberries provide balance for the chocolate.

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veuveclicquot said…
Oh my God. What a great idea! Chocolate pain au chocolat pudding almost sounds too sinful for me! ;) Yum. I wish I could take a bite out of your picture.
Lydia said…
Cranberries and chocolate -- such an interesting combination, sweet and tart. Looks wonderful!
Mimi said…
It was sweet, but not too sweet. It was balanced.

I still gave most of it away. Or it would end up on my hips.
Jann said…
This is spectacular,Mimi-you are so clever! I need to get some of that bread!
christine said…
Sinful, decadent and delicious! This is a keeper!!!
Anonymous said…
Mimi! Thanks for commenting! This recipe sounds amazing. Must try!
Mimi said…
Christine, it is all those things and more!

PF, you have an interesting site! I recommend this one, I really do.

Mimi, at home finishing a killer final exam to be given tomorrow
Tanna said…
Stunning photo. I guess I should try the chocolate and cranberries.
Mimi said…
Nice balance of flavors. Photos are always tough, but sometimes they come out right, Tanna, thank you I think you can't go wrong with this.
Fiona said…
Just one word - Fabulous !
Mimi said…
Fiona — Imagine how these flavors would blend in a scone! You must talk to your scone people!
Carolyn said…
Oh, my, this sounds delicious. And just think, you're only a state and a lake away!
Great post, thank you! Also, there is another wonderful article - about French chocolate. It has some history and even recommends the best wine/chocolate combinations, which I found to be absolutely delicious. It's for real gourmets!

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