Cadillac Café Milk Chocolate Bread Pudding

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    9

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C
Baking Time 15 to 17 minutes for the baguette slices; 45 to 55 minutes for the bread pudding

When I first met my friend Wendy Shear, she was a screenwriter living in Los Angeles. Wendy is a person to whom no one can say no. It was still beyond expectation, however, that she succeeded in coaxing the Cadillac Café to share this signature recipe for the first time. It is an easy to prepare, sublimely light, and milk chocolaty bread pudding. The exposed tops of the baked baguette slices become crisp on baking and add a delightful crunch. One would never guess how simple it is to create the beautiful arrangement of the bread.

Ingredients

Baguette Slices

VOLUME WEIGHT
1 baguette, 14 inches long, 1 to 2 days old . 8 to 10 ounces 226 to 283 grams
clarified butter, see note (or unsalted butter) 6 tablespoons (85 ml)(8 tablespoons; 1 stick) 2.6 ounces (4 ounces) 73 grams (113 grams)

Special Equipment

One 17¼ by 12¼ by 1 inch half sheet pan | Nine 3 by 1¾ inch (5 ounce capacity) soufflé molds or ramekins, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray | Nine small bowls | One 18 by 12 by 2 inch sheet pan or roasting pan for a water bath

Method

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Toast the Bread

Use a serrated knife to slice the bread into ¼ inch slices. There will be about cups. In a small saucepan, melt the clarified butter.

Arrange the bread slices on the half sheet pan and brush each side with the melted butter. Bake for 7 minutes. For even baking, rotate the sheet pan halfway around. (There is no need to turn over the slices.) Continue baking for about 8 minutes, or until crisp.

Cool the Bread

Remove the pan to a wire rack. The butter will form foam, which mostly will be absorbed by the slices within several minutes. Rearrange the slices into 9 groups with some of the smaller slices in each group. (There will be 8 to 9 slices per group.)

Make the Chocolate Custard

See recipe.

Assemble the Bread Pudding

Pour cup/158 ml/5.8 ounces/165 grams of the custard into each of five of the small bowls. Layer a group of 9 slices into each bowl, cut side down, and move them around to coat them with the custard. Repeat with the remaining bowls and slices. After all nine of the bowls are filled, let the slices absorb the custard mixture for 15 minutes more. Then turn the slices over to let the slices absorb more of the custard on the other side for another 15 minutes.

Overlap 4 of the soaked bread slices around the inner edge of one of the soufflé molds. Continue with the remaining 5 slices from the bowl to form rings, working toward the center. If necessary, bend the slices and allow them to crack to fit well. Use the smaller slices for the center. The completed rings will form the shape of a rose.

Pour the remaining custard over the bread slices. The custard will come almost to the top of the mold. Cover the mold with plastic wrap to keep the slices from moving. Repeat with the other soufflé molds. When all are completed, let the molds sit for 10 minutes before baking. Remove the plastic wrap. If necessary, reposition any bread slices to retain the shape of a rose.

Bake the Bread Pudding

Place the soufflé molds in the sheet pan and pour hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the molds. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a thin-bladed knife inserted near the center comes out clean. (An instant-read thermometer should read 170° to 180°F/77° to 82°C.)

Cool the Bread Pudding

Use sturdy tongs to remove the soufflé molds from the water bath and set them on a wire rack to cool completely, about 1½ hours. (If not adding the bourbon, it’s fine to let them cool until warm and then serve immediately.)

After the bread pudding has cooled completely, the soufflé molds can be wrapped airtight and refrigerated for up to 5 days before reheating.

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Reheat and Serve the Bread Pudding

If desired, with a thin skewer, poke several holes in between the bread slices in each mold. Drizzle each mold with about 1 teaspoon/5 ml of bourbon. Loosely cover the tops with aluminum foil and set the molds on the baking sheet. Heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until thoroughly warm.

Store

Airtight: refrigerated, 5 days.

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