Philacatessen | Chocolate Bread Pudding

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In my world, if I say a dessert tastes like “breakfast” it is the ultimate insult.

Cakes that are insufficiently sweet so they more closely resemble muffins or Danish, puddings that are too eggy and evoke omelets more than raptures, or any type of bread pudding or crêpe dish that really is served for breakfast is, in my book, not worthy of dessert.

Let me clarify: I don’t object to the existence of these items; I simply want them served with morning coffee or afternoon tea, not after a savory meal masquerading as a legitimate dessert.


So when I purchased cinnamon bread last week at the farmers market, I did not anticipate having almost all of it left and starting to go stale five days later. (Yes, I’m still on the journey of discovery, finding new and delicious treats each week from the vendors at my local farmers market).

I decided to challenge my prejudice against bread pudding, use up the surplus bread and develop a version that I could proudly call a dessert.

This has a decidedly Mexican flavor, because of the chocolate/cinnamon combo. If that is not to your taste, or if you have challah, baguette or ciabatta lying around, substitute them for the cinnamon bread and skip the additional cinnamon in the recipe.

I served it warm with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream and a generous dollop of whipped cream, which was lovely. Fresh berries and/or berry sauce, vanilla ice cream, sorbet or just plain would work just fine, too.

Here’s what I did.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

8 slices cinnamon bread, cut in cubes (about 6 cups total)

Butter for greasing pan

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3 eggs

2 cups half-and-half

⅓ cup powdered, unsweetened cocoa

1 tablespoon instant coffee

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Butter a 2-quart casserole dish and place the cubed bread in a dish. Add the chocolate chips and mix.

In a medium-size bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and whisk until thoroughly blended.

Pour the mixture over bread cubes and allow it to sit for about an hour until the liquid is mostly soaked into bread.

Bake at 325 degrees for an hour until the pudding is set. Serve warm, plain or topped as desired.

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