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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Cranberry Chocolate Bread Pudding with Citrus Butter Sauce

I always delight in taking an old-school recipe and giving it a twist. Bread pudding is no exception. I have several different versions here on the blog like, my Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Apple Cider Butter Sauce, my Blueberry Vanilla Bean Bread Pudding and my Apple Pie Croissant Pudding with Caramel Butter Foam Drizzle. In this version, fresh cranberries, chunks of chocolate and fresh oranges come together to make the ultimate holiday bread pudding that can be served for breakfast, brunch or even as a dessert.


What I love most about bread pudding is that the options are pretty endless with regards to the type or types of bread used. I've made it with leftover raisin bread, a day-old French loaf, croissants and sandwich bread. I actually prefer a combination of something hearty and something soft. So, in this recipe, I used mostly day-old French bread cubes with a few slices of soft sandwich bread cubes.

To prepare this recipe, the bread cubes get placed in a greased baking dish. Then, you'll be making a quick custard in a mixing bowl. After sprinkling on fresh cranberries and chocolate chunks, you'll pour the custard over it all. Next, you'll want it to soak for twenty minutes, at least, but you can store this in the fridge at this point - covered - until you're ready to bake it. {I have kept it overnight in the refrigerator at this point for an easy pop-in-the-oven breakfast option.} After baking, the bread pudding will need to rest slightly while you whisk up a quick, buttery, orange-infused powdered sugar sauce. This will get poured over the bread pudding at the time of service.

The result is a perfectly-spiced, custard-y center with a slightly crisp top. The cranberries impart a slightly tart component while the chocolate lends just the right amount of sweetness - it's a beautiful flavor balance between the two. And, the citrus-y sauce packs a magical punch of brightness and sweetness to finish everything off.

Yields 6 - 8 servings.


Ingredients:

FOR THE BREAD PUDDING -

Non-stick spray
6 - 7 heaping cups cubed day-old bread {See paragraph above}
1 heaping cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chunks
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of Kosher salt
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

FOR THE SAUCE -

2 tablespoons melted butter
Juice of 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of Kosher salt
Milk {only if needed to thin sauce}

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 or similar baking dish with non-stick spray. Place bread cubes in baking dish. Sprinkle cranberries and chocolate chunks over top. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, orange zest, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg until well-combined. Pour custard over bread chunks. Allow bread to soak in custard on counter for 20 - 30 minutes. {If desired, cover tightly and store in refrigerator until ready to bake - up to overnight. If soaking overnight, wait to add chocolate chunks until just prior to baking.}


Once soaked, bake - loosely covered with foil - for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 40 minutes {or until top and edges are just beginning to brown and center is just barely set}.

Remove from oven to cool. Bread pudding can be served hot, room temperature or cold.

Just prior to serving, combine melted butter, orange juice, vanilla, 1 cup of the powdered sugar and salt in a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. If sauce it too thin, use additional powdered sugar to thicken. If too thin, drizzle in a few drops of milk until a pourable, smooth consistency is achieved.

Serve sauce over bread pudding.







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