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Dec 18, 2011 03:35 PM

bread pudding guidance, please (chocolate-cherry-caramel)

I make savory bread pudding but have never made a sweet one before. Am planning a chocolate-cherry-caramel one for a pot luck on Wednesday -- my concern is that all 3 flavors are a little overboard -- do I need to be pulled back?

Current plan is this basic recipe, without apricot and with chocolate chunks:

My cherries are Trader Joe's montmorency, lovely and tart. I do like the treatment of the cherry water in the caramel sauce.

Specific questions:
-- Per reviews and my intuition, way less sugar than the recipe (half? less than that?).
-- In a savory bread pudding, I love the sturdiness of ciabatta or baguette -- is that a mistake here? I generally chunk it, toss with some melted butter, and broil it until toasty.
-- My go-to savory recipe uses 4 cups whole milk and 4 whole eggs (no cream) -- this uses 2 C cream, 2 C milk and 8 egg yolks. I can't imagine my normal way being "not rich enough," but do I need to veer toward more cream and egg yolk?

For serving at an office lunch pot luck:
-- baked the night before, refrigerated, brought to room temp in the morning, or baked in the morning (it would come out of the oven 4-5 hours before serving)?
-- caramel on the side, or poured on top?

Too much? Do I skip the caramel -- what sauciness could I add instead? Creme anglaise?

Any other advice for me? Thanks very much in advance!

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  1. I'm not a bread pudding expert, but I agree that chocolate-cherry-caramel may be a bit overwhelming. I would probably do a creme anglaise as you suggested, or just serve the pudding with really good whipped cream or even a bit of whipped creme fraiche.

    As for the bread choice, I wouldn't go with anything as crusty as a ciabatta or baguette for dessert - challah or brioche would be my recommendation, as they're richer and more "desserty." For the custard, I think the recipe ratios look fine, but you could probably reduce the cream a bit if you wanted. The sugar seems a bit excessive but if you serve the pudding with something other than the caramel it might be fine (only 2 cups go into the pudding itself).

    For serving, if you have a crockpot that would probably be ideal, that way it could be served warm. Sauce on the side, no matter what type you choose.

    1. I agree I think it might be a bit much. If you're afraid of it being too rich, 1 cup cream, 3 cups milk, 5 eggs and 4 yolks. Depending how you choose to top it, I'd adjust the sugar as such. If you want to pair with chocolate and cherry, use the cherries in it, then twere it me, I'd do a Chocolate Amaretto Creme Anglaise... or just a chocolate creme anglaise.

      my pick for bread is challah. brioche is good too, but challah my preference. (or, King's Hawaiian Bread is another favorite round here)

      if you pre-bake, and reheat, i'd suggest making it a little more custardy, that is to say upping the custard to bread ratio, to allow for the moisture loss in reheat.

      1. Adding on to the great advice you've already received... I'd cut the sugar and keep the caramel sauce. But, I wouldn't put the caramel sauce on in the bread pudding. I'd put it in a squeeze bottle that people can add themselves, in controlled amount. It sounds good with the cherry infused simple sugar.

        I also prefer a sweeter, lighter bread for a sweet bread pudding. Challah and brioche would be great; even a croissant would be good. I use a combination of whole eggs and egg yolk, cream and milk and find that rich enough. I'd also add vanilla to the egg mixture.

        As biondanonima mentioned, a crockpot would be ideal--cook it on low overnight and the egg won't overcook and it'll be warm for work.

        1. I don't have any specific instructions, but I have to say that the chocolate-cherry-caramel combination does not sound very appealing. Chocolate-cherry, though not my thing, I could see. Chocolate-caramel, definitely. But all 3 together doesn't sound too tasty...and I am not picky!