For those of you who may not watch the food network as often as I do, allow me to explain. I really prefer the cooking shows but granted that I'm not home all day able to watch them, I often catch prime-time food network. One show that I occasionally watch is throwdown, with bobby flay. I'm really not a huge fan of flay's and the show's premise seems to be flay running around in a pretentious fashion, thinking he can develop recipes overnight that are better than people who have dedicated their lives to certain dishes. This attitude was particularly on display during the episode I saw last week, bread pudding throwdown. Nonetheless, the chocolate coconut bread pudding that materialized from the episode looked pretty damn good--all gooey and chocolaty.
I figured that I should at least look the recipe up to see if it was doable. I was able to find the recipe on seriouseats.com (whether it's accurate, I guess we'll never know) and it did look complicated but not impossible. My friend's birthday was coming up so it seemed like the perfect excuse. On the show, flay's bread pudding has a slight twist--chocolate ganache mixed in it--and is served on top of a coconut creme anglaise and passionfruit sauce. I nixed the creme anglaise and the passionfruit, partially because I don't have enough pots and pans to get it all bubbling in my kitchen but mainly because it had to travel.
The first thing I needed to do was locate a quality loaf of bread that I could eat. I chose spelt (as I often do) and bought half a loaf at le pain quotidien, a chain with 17 locations in new york alone, as well as locations in LA, DC and connecticut. If you're gluten-free, silver moon bakery (upper west side) makes the best gluten-free loaf I have ever had although it's only available certain days of the week. It had a completely normal, non-gluten-free feeling texture. After the bread, the recipe was pretty straight-forward. There were 3 basic components and steps: the bread, the custard, and the chocolate ganache.
chocolate coconut bread pudding
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
- 6 oz heavy cream
- Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan then pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 30 seconds then whisk until smooth, keep warm.
- 17 ounces of bread (crust removed before weighing), cut into 1 1/2 inch dice--I used half a loaf of spelt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Chocolate ganache (recipe above)
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Put bread on a large baking sheet, drizzle with the butter and toss to coat. Bake until light golden brown, tossing several times, about 12 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly.
- Combine cream, coconut milk, sugar and vanilla in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the chopped chocolate and whisk until melted.
- Whisk together the eggs and yolks in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the warm chocolate mixture.
- Place the bread cubes in a single layer in the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish. Pour half the custard over half of the ganache and sprinkle with half of the coconut. Press down the bread to allow the liquid to soak in. Place the remaining bread cubes on the top, add the remaining custard and ganache, press down to submerge the bread. Top with the remaining coconut, cover, and let sit for at least 1 hour before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Bake until the sides are slightly puffy and the center is slightly set (but still jiggles a bit), about 40 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream.