Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekend Recipe: Chocolate Orange Bread Pudding

This rich dessert is perfect for the holidays. It's simple, but the Grand Marnier and dark chocolate -- as dark as you can find -- give it an edge over a basic bread pudding. You can serve it with a Grand Marnier sauce or make a hard sauce by beating a stick of butter, a cup of powdered sugar and a teaspoon of liqueur until it looks like whipped cream (it'll be super stiff and dense, so it won't feel like whipped cream). It's also fantastic with ice cream, but what isn't?

man, I wish I had a better photo of this!

Chocolate Orange Bread Pudding
8 slices slightly stale bread
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 cans evaporated skim milk plus enough regular milk to cover 
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Grand Marnier
3/4 cup chopped dried orange slices
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 to 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli's 100% cacao chips -- just get as dark as you can find or handle)

Tear the bread into smallish pieces and place in a 9x13" dish. Slightly stale bread works best -- if the bread is fresh, dry it out in a low temperature (like <200 degree) oven first.

Beat the eggs and pour over the bread. Add the sugar and milk and stir. Add as much extra milk as you need to cover the pudding.

Stir in the remaining ingredients and let the dish sit for 30 minutes to an hour.

Place the dish in a larger pan of water to ensure even cooking. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until no longer liquidy and the top is browned.

Grand Marnier sauce
adapted from Food Preparation Recipes, Second Ed., by the late Alice M. Child and Kathryn Bele Niles

1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 Tbs. flour
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. butter
2-3 Tbs. Grand Marnier

Mix flour, sugar and salt thoroughly in saucepan. Add boiling water and blend thoroughly.
Cook until thickened. Stir constantly. Cover and simmer about 8 minutes.
Beat in butter and liqueur. Serve hot or warm (and it's excellent over ice cream!).

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