Chocolate Bread Pudding – with Nutella, Cardamom and Nutmeg
How can you go wrong with chocolate something? If it is chocolatey is has to be good. Period. This bread pudding was born out of my craving for some chocolate bread pudding, after I watched an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay, the throw-down obviously being chocolate bread pudding. I tuned into the episode at the very end, so missed the recipe. But the yummy goodness on screen left me craving for some right away. I’ve never made bread pudding before, so I ended up googling to check out the recipes. Well, almost all were the same, some milk, cream, eggs, chocolate and of course, bread! Well, there was one problem, I did not have any chocolate on hand. Hmm…It was almost 9 pm and I did not feel like heading out to grab a bar. My brain said, “Maybe I should try to make it some other time”, but you know what my heart was saying – “Now, right now”.
Any sane foodie will always listen to what the foodie heart is saying and follow the path to redemption! That was all I did. With a strong determination I went into the kitchen and checked out my pantry. Cocoa powder, Nutella (yum) , some brewed coffee from the morning and heavy cream. I set out to make my own version of chocolate bread pudding. And here is the result for you all to see. When it came to flavoring the pudding, can you believe what happened??? My vanilla essence bottle was almost empty, all I could harvest was 1/2 tsp! So I went wild and used my other favorite spices – cardamom for its flowery fragrance and nutmeg for the deep flavor that makes you go – ‘mmm…what is that?’.
Tip: Cardamom is most flavorful when you buy the small green pods and grind them from time to time. If you buy ready made cardamom powder, it will lose its flavor over the time. So buy some green cardamom pods and store them in an airtight container. Once every month, take about 10-15 pods of cardamom (skin and seeds) and combine it with 3-4 Tbsp of regular white sugar and grind into a really fine powder in your coffee grinder. Store this powder in an airtight container and use as you need it. You could use a pinch of this powder in your daily tea and make it gourmet. Please head to the nearest Indian grocery store to but Indian spices, as these are way too expensive in the American supermarkets.
The outcome of my experiment was a flavor party on my tongue. Absolutely mind blowing. Leave all your inhibitions in the living room and head to the kitchen with a brave heart and try this pudding. Flavorful, moist and chocolatey. Almost like a good chocolate cake.
Storing: This pudding is best served on the day its made, but you could refrigerate it for 1-2 days in an airtight container and warm it up when you serve.
Bread (day old bread, cubed) – 2 heaped cups (I used Italian bread, use whatever you have on hand)
Brewed Coffee – 1/4 cup
Cocoa powder – 2 Tbsp
Nutella – 2 Tbsp (or more)
Cream Cheese – 2 Tbsp
Heavy Cream – 1/4 cup (optional, substitute with whole milk)
Milk – 1/2 cup (I used whole)
Sugar – 3/4 cup (I use half brown and half white, reduce sugar if you like it less sweet)
Large egg – 1 no.
Vanilla essence – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Nutmeg (grated)- 1/8 tsp (optional, but recommended, use very little as it is a really strong spice)
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp (optional, but recommended)
Melted butter – 3 Tbsp (Use vegetable/canola oil if you do not/cannot have butter)
Grated semi-sweet/milk chocolate – 2 oz (optional, use if you have some on hand)
- Cube the bread into inch pieces.
- Heat the coffee in the microwave for 45 seconds to a minute. Dissolve the cocoa powder and nutella in the hot coffee, without forming any lumps. Keep aside.
- Beat the egg lightly in another big bowl. Add the sugar, heavy cream, milk, vanilla, cardamom powder and nutmeg and mix well. Mix in the coffee-cocoa mixture from step 2 and whisk to combine. Soak the bread in this for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour. Press down the bread occasionally using a spoon or fork, making sure all the bread is submerged. Mix in the grated chocolate, if using at this time.
- The bread will soak up most of the liquid in 20-30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Butter a loaf pan or a 9 inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper on the bottom. Pour the bread mixture over this. Place this pan in a roasting pan/tray filled with hot water (I use the hottest tap water). The water must come up to an inch of the pudding pan. You could also bake this in individual ramekins.
- Carefully transfer to the oven, middle rack and bake for 30-35 minutes. When the top is dry and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out dry, the pudding is ready.