There are two things that I always seem to have on hand: 1) a baguette in some stage of staleness and 2) a chocolate bar, and it’s almost always the Lindt fleur de sel bar, which is as good for snacking as baking, I’ve learned.
So the other day, when I had a mostly uneaten and very stale baguette to deal with, I immediately thought that I’d make some sort of bread pudding with it. The weather in Paris has been so cold and rainy lately, this seemed like the perfect idea, so I tore up the baguette into bite-size pieces, put them in a bag, and decided to deal with it later.
Now you see how I end up with stale baguettes in the first place. Dealing with things later often means not dealing with them until it’s nearly too late. Or at all.
Not that I do that in other areas of my life.
Anyway. As luck would have it, I was not in the mood for a traditional bread pudding (which, let’s face it, can often be a disappointment). I wanted to make something different. Something chocolate. Which almost always means chocolately + salty in my world.
I was also thinking about Valentine’s Day and what I could suggest y’all make for your sweethearts this year that might be a little different…but not tricky to make.
I’m all about easy, as y’all know.
So I went into the kitchen and got the already torn up bits of bread out of the fridge, and started tinkering around with my ice cream recipes to make a chocolate custard — because that’s really all we’re talking about here, some old bread and custard.
And the magic that happens when it goes into the oven for a spell.
Sometimes I make things and they’re pretty good, and other times I make things that are super kickass good. This is one of the latter.
The key to this fancy-sounding but oh-so-not dessert is to be sure and use this Lindt chocolate bar (hello, sponsorship?) and to let the bread soak overnight so it completely absorbs all of the chocolate custard. Do not try to rush this and throw it together the day of. The overnight soak is the key to chocolate nirvana-ness. Bake it the next day. Then make the chocolate whipped cream for the coup de grâce.
Bada bing, bada boom.
You are welcome.
Chocolate Fleur de Sel Bread Pudding with Chocolate Whipped Cream
Makes 4 servings
- 1 (3.5-ounce/100 gram) bar of Lindt fleur de sel chocolate, broken into pieces
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup/150 grams of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 8 ounces/1 cup/240 ml of whole milk
- 8 ounces/1 cup/240 ml of whipping cream or crème fraiche
- 4 cups/4 ounces/113 grams of stale bread, torn into bite-size pieces (about 2/3 of a baguette tradtion)
- fleur de sel
- 7 ounces/20 cl of whipping cream or crème fraiche
- ½ cup/100 grams of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa, plus a bit more for serving
1. Put the broken chocolate in a medium bowl with a colander on top. Set this aside.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and sea salt.
3. Warm your milk and whipping cream or crème fraiche in a saucepan over medium heat. When it’s steaming and you see tiny bubbles on the side, it’s ready. (Watch it carefully: You don’t want this to boil.)
4. Temper the egg/sugar mixture by pouring a tiny bit of the warmed milk and cream into the bowl while whisking. Keep doing this till you’ve added about half of the warm milk and cream. Now pour this back into the saucepan and cook for a few more minutes, or until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of your wooden spoon. Pour this through the colander and into the bowl. Using your whisk, incorporate the chocolate.
5. Add the stale bread to the bowl and squish it down with your spoon, making sure all of the pieces of bread get wet. Let this cool and then refrigerate overnight.
6. Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C and generously butter 4 (1-cup) ramekins. Divide the chocolately bread between them and lightly sprinkle with fleur de sel. Cover each ramekin with foil and place in a glass casserole dish large enough to hold them all. Pour cold water halfway up the sides of the ramekins — you’re going to bake this in a bain marie — and slide into the oven for 45 minutes or until set.
7. Pull out the bread puddings and remove the foil. Slide them back into the oven for another 15 minutes or until the tops are a little crispy.
8. While the bread puddings are finishing up, make your chocolate whipped cream. Pour the 7 ounces/20 cl of whipping cream or crème fraiche into a bowl and begin to whip at high speed. While it’s going, add the sugar and chocolate and let it go until it firms up a bit.
9. Serve your bread puddings warm, with a spoonful of whipped cream and a sprinkle of unsweetened chocolate. Happy V-day, everyone.
Cowgirl Do-Ahead Tip: You can make these the day before and simply reheat for 20 minutes at 400°F (not in a bain marie but with foil snugly on top).