Let’s not beat about the bush – this is a proper pudding and bears absolutely no resemblance to anything remotely healthy. This is mid-winter pudding, pudding for when you need deep deep comfort, pudding for when nothing but squidgy chocolate custard soaked bread pudding will do.
I first saw this pudding in Delia Smith’s “Winter Collection”, published in 1995. I’ve been making it ever since, tweaking it here and there. I’ve used torn up croissants, added a touch of orange zest, and once I even used leftover panettone which gave the whole thing a sort of chocolatey rum and raisin taste.
The biggest problem with this pudding is that Delia instructs that it should be prepared (at least) a day ahead to let all the chocolate custard soak into the bread – and let’s be honest, who thinks that far ahead? When you need this pudding you need it now and not in 2 days time. I tend to put it together on a Saturday morning for baking on Saturday evening and, with apologies to Saint Delia, I’ve never had any complaints, although on the odd occasion when I have done the in advance thing it has been even better.
I’ve also featured this in one of my novels – Wish You Were Here. In that book Maxine (Max) Henderson, my protagonist, described it as chocolatey truth serum and I’m not sure that she was that far off the mark.
Anyways, here’s the recipe. You’re welcome. Oh, a quick note, try as I might I haven’t been able to get a decent pic of this – which is why the lead pic is from Delia’s book rather than my kitchen.
What you need
- 10 slices, about half a loaf, of white bread. Cut off the crusts and quarter the slices
- 200g block of dark chocolate – the good stuff – cut into small pieces. I tend to take the rolling pin to it while it’s still in its packet. Don’t worry if a few pieces disappear for the purposes of taste testing
- 3 whole eggs
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 300ml double or thick cream
- 3-4 tablespoons rum
- A good shake of cinnamon
- 75g butter cut into small pieces
- A lightly buttered ovenproof dish about 18 x 23cm. I use either an enamel baking dish or my glass pyrex bowl
What you do with it
- Deal with the bread by cutting off the crusts and then cutting each slice into quarters
- Into a large bowl combine the cream, chocolate, rum, butter, sugar, cinnamon and pop it over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Stir from time to time until it’s all lusciously melted together.
- In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and then, still whisking, pour the chocolate mix into the eggs. Tip: To make sure that you don’t scramble the eggs, allow the chocolate mix to cool slightly before mixing a small amount into the eggs before you add the rest.
- Spoon a thin layer of chocolate custard onto the bottom of your dish and arrange half the bread triangles in overlapping rows. Now add more chocolate, another layer of bread, and the last of the chocolate.
- Press the bread down with the back of a spoon until it’s all covered with chocolate. Don’t worry too much if some of the bread pokes up- it adds an extra texture once it’s been cooked.
- Pop some cling-film over it, let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so (if you don’t live in Queensland and it’s not a hot day) and then place it into the fridge for as many hours as you can. This is the part that you’re supposed to do the day before. Tip: Before you wash the bowl, sneak a taste.
- When you are ready to cook it, bring the pudding back to room temperature, preheat the oven to 180C, and cook for 30-35mins. The top should be crunchy and the middle squidgey.
- All it needs now is ten (or so) minutes to sit, and some pouring cream, ice cream, or custard to serve. My daughter likes it with custard, my husband likes it with cream, you serve it as you like.