Mary's Corner: Chocolate & Cherry Bread PuddingDec 22, 2015 01:41PM ● By Mary Cody
This chocolate and cherry bread pudding is a departure from healthy eating, but in moderation, it’s OK to have a little decadence now and then. And this one is warm, sweet, and filling for the frigid nights ahead. It’s also a sensational dessert for Valentine’s Day.
As with most bread puddings, it calls for whipped cream on top. But to make it extra special, I like to add one tablespoon of kirsch, a brandy made from cherries. If you don’t have kirsch on hand and don’t want to buy a bottle for this recipe, you can substitute one tablespoon of regular brandy or one-half teaspoon of vanilla extract.
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
3 slices white sandwich bread
1 cup half and half
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup, plus 3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup dried tart cherries
½ cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon kirsch liqueur (optional, see substitutions above)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 2 tablespoons butter over bread slices. Cut bread into one-inch pieces. Whisk half and half, eggs, vanilla, and 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl to blend. Add bread cubes, chocolate chips, and dried cherries; toss to coat. Divide mixture among 6 custard cups. Dot tops with remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Bake 10 minutes. Sprinkle puddings with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until tops are browned, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk cream, remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar, and kirsch in medium bowl, just until slightly thickened. Serve warm with kirsch cream.
Mary Cody is the owner of Mary's Restaurant and Maggie's Lounge in Onalaska.