Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Best Tasting Dessert You Will Ever Make - Challah Bread Pudding Cake

I love challah, the egg bread traditionally eaten on Fridays for Jewish shabbat. But our family never finishes the entire loaf. The bread is so good, I looked for other ways to enjoy it.


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. 

Serves 8-10

Time to prepare 30 minutes

Time to bake 60-75 minutes depending on the size of the baking pan and the oven

Ingredients

12 ounces day old challah, torn apart into 2" pieces
1 tablespoon sweet (unsalted) butter
4 eggs
1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 pint heavy cream, preferably Trader Joe's 
1 cup dark chocolate at least 60% cacao, finely chopped
½ cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped (optional)
¼ cup powdered sugar 
½ cup shaved dark chocolate 

Directions

Preheat oven 350 F.

Place torn up challah pieces on a baking tray. Place in oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.


Place the baking pan on a piece of parchment paper, trace the shape of the pan with a pencil and use scissors to cut the parchment paper to size.

Melt butter. Using a pastry brush, paint the bottom and sides of the pan(s) with the melted butter. 

Place parchment paper round(s) onto the bottom of the baking pan. Paint the top of the parchment paper. Place baking pan with parchment paper in freezer for at least 15 minutes.



In a large bowl, with a whisk mix together eggs and sugar. Add heavy cream. Mix well. Add chopped chocolate. Add chopped almonds (optional). Mix together and add toasted challah pieces. Toss well to coat.

Pour into the buttered pan with parchment paper and place in to 350 F pre-heated oven.

Bake 45-60 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.



As the cake cools, it will shrink away from the sides of the pan. 

Place your hand over the top, flip over and remove the cake. Flip over so the parchment paper is on the bottom and place on the wire rack.

Once cooled, the cake can be placed in plastic wrap and an airtight plastic bag and refrigerated or frozen. Refrigerated the cake will keep fresh for 2 days. The cake can be kept frozen for up to a month.



Before serving, preheat oven 250 F, remove the parchment paper, place on a baking sheet, place into oven for fifteen minutes. Remove and dust with shaved chocolate and powdered sugar.

Serve warm with cream or ice cream.

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