Lightly spray for 1 cup oven proof custard cups with a non stick cooking spray and place them on a baking sheet. Place the rack into the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pour 1 1/2 cup of half and half into a saucepan placed over medium high heat. Bring the half and half to a boil. Remove the pan from heat and add the bittersweet chocolate. Swirl the pan so that all the chocolate is covered well with the hot liquid. Let the mixture stand for 1 minute then stir until the chocolate melts and is smooth. Break the eggs into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt and 1 tsp. of vanilla. Whisk the mixture 20 seconds or until frothy. Gradually pour the chocolate cream into the mixture, stirring to blend in. Add the bread cubes then press them down with a spatula to submerge. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, pressing down the bread occasionally. Divide the mixture between the 4 custard cups and bake 30 minutes or until set. Transfer the custard cups to a wire rack and let cool at least 10 minutes. Pour the remaining half and half into a small saucepan and place over medium high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 3 minutes. Place the egg yolk into a bowl. Add the sugar and whisk for 30 seconds or until it thickens and pales. Whisk quick of 1/2 of the warm half and half into the egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining half and half. Place the pan over medium heat and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon heat 2 minutes or until the mixture coats and sticks to back of spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate and vanilla until smooth. Pour the sauce evenly over the top of the four custards.
Makes 4 servings
Traditional bread pudding doesn’t hold a cake to this scrumptious treat. Raisins can also be added, fold them into the pudding before transferring the batter to the custard cups.
Tiramisu Bread Pudding
12 ounces bread (brioche, challah or white), preferably stale
2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cup heavy cram
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
6 tablespoons dark rum
3 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Have a 9-x-13 inch baking pan at hand (a Pyrex pan is perfect here), as well as a roasting pan big enough to hold the baking pan and how water. Line the roasting pan with a double thickness of paper towels.
Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. It the bread is stale, put it and the raisins or cherries, if you are using them, into the baking pan. If it is not stale, spread it out on a a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat and bake in a 350-degree-F oven to "stale" it for 10 minutes, then toss into the pan (with the fruit).
Bring the milk and cream just to a boil.
Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, yolks, rum, brewed coffee and sugar together in a bow. Still whisking, slowly drizzle in about one quarter of the hot milk mixture--this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they don't curdle. Whisking all the while slowly pour in the rest of the hot milk. Add the chocolate and whisk it in gently until it is melted and the custard is smooth. Rap the bowl against the counter to pop bubbles that might have formed, then pour the custard over the bread and press the bread gently with the back of a spoon to help cover it with liquid. Leave the pan on the counter, giving the bread the back-of-the-spoon treatment now and then, for 30 minutes.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. F.
Slide the pan setup into the oven and very carefully pour enough how water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the pudding pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the pudding is uniformly puffed, the top is dull and dry and a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.
Ingredients for Tiramisu Cream:
4 tbsp. dark rum
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 pound mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream (cold)
In a heat proof bowl set over simmering water, beat yolks at low speed with a hand mixer until just combined. Add sugar and salt and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with a rubber spatula once or twice. Add remaining 4 tablespoons rum and beat at medium speed until just combined, 20 to 30 seconds; scrape bowl. Add mascarpone and beat at medium speed until no lumps remain, 30 to 45 seconds, scraping down bowl once or twice.
In a separate bowl, beat cream at medium speed until frothy, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Increase speed to high and continue to beat until cream holds stiff peaks, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer. Using rubber spatula, fold one-third of whipped cream into mascarpone mixture to lighten, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain.
Refrigerate the bread pudding for 1 hour to let it firm up. Cut it in half and place it on a plate. Top with 1/2 tiramisu cream and sift 1 tbsp. cocoa powder over the top. At this point, you can either put it back in the fridge to let the cream firm up a bit (an hour would be fine) and then top it with the other half of the bread pudding, or just immediately top it with the other half (but the cream will spill out of the sides a bit!). Top the second half with the remaining tiramisu cream and, again, add 1 tbsp. sifted cocoa powder. You can also top it with shaved chocolate. Refrigerate 6-24 hours.
Top off your bread pudding with some fresh whipped cream!
Cut your bread into 1 to 1/2 –inch cubes. Spread out the cubes on a large cookie baking sheet. Let the cubes dry out for a day or two. Alternatively, you can dry out the cubes in about an hour by putting them in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once your cubes are ready, it’s time to start getting the rest of your ingredients prepped. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large glass mixing bowl or measuring cup melt the chocolate, butter and sugar together in the microwave. Set the microwave for 1 minute at half power and then stir the mixture until smooth. If the chocolate is still not melted, put it back into the microwave for another 20 to 30 seconds at half power.
Let the chocolate mixture cool while you prepare the other ingredients. In a large mixing bowl whip together the eggs, milk, vanilla, salt, and Espresso powder (you can also use cocoa powder). Add the bread cubes into the egg mixture and carefully stir the bread into the milk with a wooden spoon. Fold the ingredients together until the bread looks like it’s soaked in most of the liquid. Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the soaked bread cubes. Do not over stir!
Use cooking spray to coat your baking dish. Pour the batter into the dish and bake for 1 hour. Start checking the bread pudding at about 45 minutes into baking. The top will appear shiny and should be firm to the touch. Allow the dish to cool at least 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Using a food processor, mixer or blender, combine butter and sugar; blend well. Add cinnamon and vanilla and continue to blend.
While the machine is running, add eggs to the mixture. Turn off the machine and scrape down the sides. Add the milk and blend once more.
Lightly butter a baking dish. Break up the bread into 1-inch pieces and add to the dish. Gently mix in the chocolate chips to evenly distribute throughout the bread. Pour the wet mixture over the bread pieces and allow to soak for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly push down the top pieces of bread to allow to soak up wet mixture.
Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the custard is set but still moist. Allow to cool, then dive in!