Buttermilk Chocolate Bread Pudding

It's beginning to feel more like winter these days in Tennessee and when a new shipment of Guittard chocolate arrived I thought I should make a warm dessert with it. What better than bread pudding? There are so many recipes out there, and this one isn't much different than most. But I put my own spin on it and the end result was a rich, dark chocolate pudding. Not too sweet, which is why the whipped cream is necessary! 

As with any recipe there can be substitutions and I listed some. In regards to the chocolate, your preference may be different than mine, and I realize most people do not have bulk, dark chocolate in their pantry! So just substitute your favorite chocolate chips in this recipe. Semisweet chocolate will not turn out the same but that doesn't mean it won't be good! Just cut back on the sugar, maybe by a half of a cup if you use anything other than dark chocolate. But you know your taste, if you like sweet desserts leave all the sugar in regardless!

1 loaf Challah Bread, cut or torn into cubes
2 cups whole fat buttermilk (or whole milk)
2 cups 1/2 & 1/2 (or heavy cream)
1 whole vanilla bean
1 and 3/4 cups dark chocolate
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup cane sugar (plus more for dusting)

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbs powdered sugar
1/2 tsp real vanilla extract


1. Grease a 9x13 inch pan with real butter. Slice the challah bread into 1/2 inch slices. Stack a few at a time and slice off the brown crust on all side. Cut (or tear) into cubes. Assemble bread chunks into the pan.

2. Pour buttermilk and cream into a heavy saucepan. Slice vanilla bean down the center and scrape seeds out with a spoon. Add them to the milk and whisk to break them up. Place vanilla bean pod in the pan. Bring to a soft boil.

3. Remove heated milk from stove top and cover with plastic wrap. Let the milk infuse for at least 30 minutes.

4. In the meantime separate the eggs (you can use the whites for another recipe or omelette's). Add sugar to egg yolks and whisk to combine.

5. If your chocolate is not already in pieces cut it into chunks (this will ensure a quick and easy melt later on). Measure out chocolate. 

6. Now it's time to make the custard. Remove plastic wrap from the cooled milk. Remove the vanilla bean pod. Reheat the milk on the stove top to just under boiling. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until combined. Now it's time to temper the eggs. Slowly add a little bit of the hot chocolate milk to the bowl of eggs. This step is extremely important because if you add the hot milk too quickly it will curdle your eggs. So add slowly and whisk. Add the warmed egg mixture to your pan of chocolate milk and whisk.

7. Pour chocolate milk over the bread.

8. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and then weigh it down. I used another 9x13 inch pan and inserted more glass dishes. This step pushes the cubes down into the milk so they absorb that chocolate yumminess! Set this aside to rest for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

9. After the bread has absorbed the liquid remove the glass dishes and plastic wrap. Sprinkle the top with more cane sugar (I do this to get a lightly toasted, crispy crust) and bake uncovered for 35 - 40 minutes. 

10. Remove from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. In the meantime make your whipped cream.

11. Place heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. If you have a stand mixer use the whisk attachment, but a hand mixer will work. Whisk on high until the cream firms ups and has stiff peaks. This cream purposely has less sugar and vanilla in it so that it doesn't overpower the flavor of that amazing dark chocolate!

Once the pudding has rested spoon into bowls and top with cream! 

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