Some years ago we had the brioche pudding at McCormick & Schmick’s. We loved it. We tried ordering it the next time we were there–oops, they weren’t making it anymore at that branch of the restaurant chain. Oh, no! We had to have it. I began to experiment, trying to re-create the restaurant’s version. I’ve made it each Christmas for the past four years, and it’s been good every time, but not perfect.
This search led me to learn to make brioche because I couldn’t find it at local bakeries (an Internet search will deliver many recipes for brioche. I read a lot of them. I made several of them. Here’s what I concluded: Use the one in Nick Malgieri’s How to Bake. It’s easy.) Brioche fresh out of the oven is sooo good. In fact, you’ll see that the recipe that follows calls for seven-eighths of a loaf. That’s because we ate the rest of the loaf; we couldn’t stop ourselves. And kitchen passers-by snatched cubes out of the pan. You could doubtless use the whole loaf for the pudding, but you probably won’t get the chance. Try to make sure at least three-fourths of it goes into the pudding, though.
Brioche Chocolate Chunk Pudding
7/8 loaf brioche
8 ounces 72 percent cacao bittersweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
3 cups heavy cream
8 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13-inch pan. Thickly slice the brioche and then cut the slices into rough cubes and spread out in the pan. Break the chocolate into bite-size chunks and add to the bread cubes, making sure that the chunks are well distributed.
Heat the cream and sugar to a simmer, stirring often. Temper the egg yolks, then stir the cream and eggs together. Add the vanilla and salt. Pour over the bread and chocolate. Stick the pan in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it.
I put it in the oven when we sit down to dinner, so it will be fresh out of the oven about 45 minutes later. Serve warm with whipped cream or just pass a pitcher of heavy cream. Yum.