Every year when the weather turns cold and nasty I start to get a craving for this dessert. Chocolate chip bread pudding brought to you by Nostalgia on a 3×5 inch recipe card.
Stashed in the back of a closet is a worn-out box overflowing with hand written recipes, food notes and wrinkled wine labels. It is filled with a lifetime of food memories on 3×5 index cards and scraps of paper with scribbled notes.
Dearest to me are the hand written recipes from Ivy, an elderly neighbor living next door to us in our first apartment – that would be about 150 years ago. Each one of those treasured and very faded hand written recipe cards begins: From Ivy’s Kitchen – Very Small. Her cozy apartment kitchen may have been postage-stamp tiny, but her heart was huge and generous.
Once she caught on that we were not fit to feed ourselves, Ivy left her British/American version of dinner on our doorstep many evenings so that we’d stumble over it on the way in from work. We thought she possessed some crazy crystal ball because the food was always piping hot, but eventually realized that from her living room window she could see us getting off the bus a block away. That gave her just the right amount of time to spirit the dish to our door and disappear like a magic Food-Elf. Meatloaf topped with mashed potatoes and decorated with a fling of peas was love in a 5×8 loaf pan.
Ivy also introduced us to her favorite post dinner delight, English bread and butter pudding. We ate so many variations of bread pudding we lost count. Our favorite was toll-house chocolate chip, Ivy’s way of being half American, half British. The chocolate was warm, gooey and a perfect accent to the bland pudding.
Bread pudding is very forgiving and easy to prepare. Intended to use up stale bread with a few eggs and milk, the recipe deserves a little update. Use some brioche or challah (egg bread) for a richer flavor and instead of toll house chips, chop some bittersweet chocolate. Top with whipped cream or Whiskey Bourbon Sauce. I’m pretty sure Ivy would approve and be thrilled that I finally figured out the purpose of a kitchen.
|Ivy’s Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding, Gluten Free||
- 225 grams day old stale GF brioche, challah or bread (about 2 cups)
- 100 grams bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips (generous ½ cup)
- 700 grams whole milk, scalded (about 3 cups)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 large eggs plus one egg yolk
- 100 grams superfine sugar (about ½ cup)
- 1 generous tablespoon whiskey bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch salt
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 325. Butter 6 ramekins or an 8×8 pan. Make sure they fit into a larger pan that will hold a water bath in the oven.
- Cut the bread into ½ cubes. Divide evenly and place in the bottom of the ramekins or pan. Scatter the chocolate over the bread cubes. Add the butter to the scalded milk and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes. Mix the eggs with the sugar, whiskey, vanilla, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add some hot milk to the egg mixture to temper it and then mix both together and whisk to blend. Pour into each ramekin or pan until about ¾ full. Sprinkle with a little bit more nutmeg. Place in the water bath and cover the pan with foil.
- Bake about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake about 18 minutes more or just until the custard looks set. It will still wiggle in the center, a little bit. Cool slightly. Serve with whipped cream or your favorite bourbon whiskey sauce.