Challah makes great French toast. A slice of dense challah absorbs the frothy egg and milk and still retains it shape. Cooked on a hot carbon steel pan with a pat of butter, the outside gets crusty as the inside stays custard-moist. A drizzle of warm maple syrup on top and we have a delicious breakfast.
So leftover challah is not a bad thing. It's a good thing.
The French toast got me thinking. How else could I use challah? I always loved bread pudding. So why not challah bread pudding?
I could have made the dessert in small cups, but I like to make bread pudding as a cake. The result was spectacular. The easy-to-make dessert is perfect for dinner parties, Oscar watching parties, Super Bowl Sunday, birthdays and anniversaries.
Challah Bread Pudding Cake
At our neighborhood bakery, a full-sized challah loaf weighs 24 ounces. The recipe uses half a loaf to make enough for 8-10 people. If you need to make more for a party, the recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. Whatever you need.
The challah should be day old or even a week old. If you aren't going to make the bread pudding cake for awhile, place the challah into an airtight bag and freeze for up to two months. When defrosting, brush off any ice crystals that may have accumulated on the bread.
For heavy cream, I prefer to use Trader Joe's because there are no additives. The heavy cream I see in markets, even ones that are high-end, has chemicals added.
Buy good quality chocolate without flavorings or nuts. Trader Joe's sells one pound bars of Belgium chocolate that are good. After opening the package, keep unrefrigerated in a sealed bag for freshness. If the chocolate turns chalky, discard.
Use one 9" round baking pan at least 3" tall or two 6" baking pans at least 3" tall. Do not use a spring form pan because it will leak during baking.
The baking pan needs to be at least 1" taller than the amount of batter because the cake will rise as it cooks.
Freezing the buttered, parchment lined baking pan for 15 minutes helps when you remove the cake from the pan after baking.
So the challah pieces do not get mushy, as quickly as the toasted bread is coated with the custard, pour the mixture into the baking pan.
Time to prepare 30 minutes
Time to bake 60-75 minutes depending on the size of the baking pan and the oven