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Food Editor's note:

We did some research into bread pudding, as one of our visitors suggested we put a bread pudding recipe on our food page.  After reading many recipes and testing a few, our vote went to this chocolate version.  Julie found the recipe in a recent issue of Bon Appetit – it is from a restaurant called Red Fish Grill in New Orleans.  Purists may prefer a plain, vanilla-flavored version, but if we have a choice, we almost always go for the chocolate!  This is like having a bowl of delicious warm brownie batter, with added texture from the bread.  Serve it warm, alone or with added cream, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.  It is heaven!
1 3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces French bread with crust, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bring cream, 1/2 cup sugar, and milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Remove from heat.  Add 1 cup chocolate chips and whisk until melted and smooth.

Whisk egg and vanilla in a large bowl to blend.  Gradually whisk in the hot chocolate mixture.  Cool the custard 10 minutes, stirring often.
Add bread cubes and remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips to the custard and toss to coat.  Transfer to a 1 1/2-quart shallow oval baking dish.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the top.

Bake until custard thickens and the center is just set, 45-50 minutes.  Let sit for a few minutes before serving.
Yield: 6-8 servings

Chocolate Bread Pudding


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