"Feast of Saint Valentine"
Bread, Chocolate, coffee, pears and eggs, sounds like breakfast right? I thought so too, hence the name of this dish. Bread pudding has got to be one of the top 5 recipes utilizing stale bread. Not to say bread has to be stale for one to make the dish. However in our household bread pudding gets made when there are 4 or 5 different bags of almost finished breads waiting to be tossed out. A few slices of wheat bread, some hamburger buns, dinner rolls, one or two raisin rolls, maybe some hard dough bread back (what we call the end pieces of bread in Jamaica); we gather all these sandwich rejects and make them into something special.
To spice up the normal fare, I added some pears, coco powder and sea salt to the standard method. While the chocolate flavor is a bit mild, the pears and sea salt are my absolute favorite in this. Now the sweet and salty thing might not be for everyone, and if that’s the case, no biggie just skip the salt. But the pears when warm and mixed with the rum raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, is heavenly.
It was really a good effort if I don’t say so myself. My only wish was that it tasted chocolatier. So here is what you do. Add ¼ cup to ½ cup (depending on your preference) of chocolate chips to the batter. That way the chocolate flavor is in the liquid that the bread soaks up as well as in each bite. Go with milk chocolate or dark, not white chocolate.
Last but not least texture. There are two options, you either like to see the bread chunks in your bread pudding or you rather one smooth consistent texture. If you want the latter allow the bread to soak in the custard for at least 10 minutes (depending on the density of your bread). While soaking the bread will absorb the liquid and in turn dissolve the bread particles creating a consistent texture when baked. I prefer the former. I like to see the cubes of bread in my bread pudding so I do not allow my bread to soak and disintegrate I toss the bread in the custard and one every piece gets to absorb a bit its time to bake.
Next time I’m going to get real cupcake liners, or make it in a sheet pan and cut slices (my mom prefers the individual portions). And I wont forget those chocolate chips.
Makes 12 individual servings
Ingredients (Printable ingredient list)
4-5 cups chopped bread pieces
2 bosc pears
2 tablespoon salted butter
¼ cup sugar
4 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon coffee
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup rum soaked raisins
¼ cup chocolate chips (recommended)
- I strongly recommend adding ¼ or ½ cup of chocolate chips to the batter before baking, so you really get a nice bite of chocolate in the mix.
- I didn’t have any cupcake liners so I made these from parchment, be sure to spray them with cooking oil, a few of my bread puddings were a bit hard to remove from the paper.
- I specify Bosc pears because they have a grainy texture that I think works well. However use any pear you have available
- Depending on the type of bread you use you may need up to a 1/2 cup more milk. Dense breads like hard dough bread require more liquid to saturate it. The bread i used with a medium density wheat french bread so 1 cup of milk worked.