I thought I'd offer up one more recipe for Valentine's Day. Something directed more towards those of you not feeling the need for cupcake cuteness. Perhaps for those who are a little bit sassy, a little bit naughty, or a little bit....bitter. Then again, you need no official reason to make bread pudding. If there ever were a comfort dessert, bread pudding would be it. Here's a re-posting from the old site, originally devoured about a year ago today.
It’s kind of like writer’s block, only much more ridiculous. 99% of the time, I have a more difficult time choosing which of the three dozen recipes I’m contemplating to make than I do figuring out what to write about. That wasn’t really the problem today. It’s always easiest to blame someone or something out of your power when you’ve got a problem, right? Since the husband isn’t to blame this time, I’ll have to place it on someone else. Have I told you about this person before, this “arch enemy” of mine? I didn’t know them before I moved to Norway, we just met last November. They have the kind of effect on me that makes me want to curl up into ball and hide from everyone else, or to scream out loud in frustration and anger. Either one. Sometimes simultaneously. They give me this extreme introvert-extrovert complex, and I hate them for it. But at least it’s improved my cooking and baking, which in turn makes me closer to my readers, or at least closer to my belly.
My arch enemy is “Norwegian gloom”- something I sort of knew about before moving here, but never really was able to grasp the concept of before taking up residency. It’s the two-month long stretch of darkness around Christmas time. It’s the two-week long stretches of gray, rainy days that we’re experiencing right now. The real killer is that we live in such an amazingly beautiful area, but when there are days like this, a girl has neither the desire nor motivation to get out and experience the nature that surrounds her town. I even bought an expensive yearlong pass for the cross-country ski trail to get me up and out. It seemed like a good idea to have such a pass when there was two feet of snow on the ground and plenty of sun. But then naturally I woke up overnight to find out that all that lovely snow has disappeared and mud, dog “treats”, and old cigarette butts from the neighbor were in its’ place.
But you can only be bitter for so long. And do you know what I figure? Since all of my favorite pastimes are most commonly shared with grandmas and old maids, it’s probably wise to resist that fuddy-duddy outlook. I mean, with the way things are going, I’ll probably be that crabby old lady whose house all the neighbor kids skip when trick- or- treating, and that will be before I even turn 30! Can’t let that happen.....
It’s probably best to transfer all of that bitterness into the kitchen. It’s probably smart to place all that negative energy into something baked, rather than onto my husband and good townspeople, which brings us to today’s recipe; Bitter Chocolate Covered Cherry Bread Pudding. Kind of a mouthful to say, isn’t it?
Now, I generally like my bread puddings to be a little more straightforward; a little spice, a few raisins, and a dollop of cream. But with the mood that I’m in lately, I needed something with a little more pizzazz, a little more gusto, and a tiny bit bitter. Chunks of dark chocolate melted over boozy-sweet cherries and pieces of rich, chewy challah bread while being bathed in a creamy vanilla-spiked custard, then served up with a scoop of good, real ice cream. Just a forewarning: make a full-sized serving, because it tastes even better after a night in the fridge.
Need a secret weapon to ward off negative thoughts? Give this recipe a go.
Mørk sjokolade- og Kirsebærbrødpudding
*Recipe taken from, “sweet fine day”
1 loaf challah, brioche (or other decent, chewy white bread), crusts removed and cut into 1/2” cubes
2 cups (480 mL) light cream
1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (450 g) cherries (fresh or canned), or 3/4 cup dried cherries
*1/4 cup (60 mL) brandy or kirsch liqueur for soaking the cherries(optional)
4 ounces (115 g) bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. If you are going to soak the cherries in brandy or kirsch, do so now so that they will have enough time to soak. Mix the eggs, cream, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the bread and let it soak while the oven preheats. If the bread is fairly dry it would benefit from some extra soaking time.
2. Mix in the cherries (drained, if being soaked in brandy or kirsch) and chopped chocolate. When the oven is hot, butter your baking dish, pour in the soaked bread, and bake for about 30 minutes, until fully cooked. If your pan is not very deep, it will require less cooking time. The pudding should rise in the center and feel firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes.
3. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Save a slice or two for breakfast with a cup or coffee.