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Four Square Chocolate Brioche English Toffee Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 loaf chocolate brioche (plain brioche may be substituted if chocolate is not available)
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed (medium-sized chunks) English toffee, such as Heath Bar
  • 12 oz high quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 whole eggs plus 6 yolks
  • 1/2 cup Caramel Sauce (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (raw or partially refined sugar)

Preparation:

You'll need 15 small ring molds or greased, parchment-lined and individual soufflé cups, which should be greased and lined with parchment. Or you may bake a single large bread pudding in a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish and cut it into portions; this method requires a longer baking time.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Remove the crust from the brioche, and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss together with the toffee pieces and set aside.

Ganache: Chop chocolate and place in a large mixing bowl. Bring 1 1/4 cups cream to a boil, and pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit, whisking occasionally, until chocolate melts. Set aside.

Custard: In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and yolks. In a saucepan, combine milk, sugar and 1 1/4 cups cream, and heat just to a boil. Add hot cream mixture slowly to eggs, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs.

Immediately strain custard through a chinois or fine sieve into the ganache, whisking constantly. When the custard is completely blended into the ganache, pour over the bread and toffee mixture. Add the caramel sauce and mix thoroughly. Set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour until all liquid is absorbed.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Butter 15 (2 1/2-inch by 1 1/2-inch) ring molds and place on baking sheet. Place in refrigerator about 10 minutes to harden butter.

Remove baking sheet with molds from the refrigerator and fill with bread and custard mixture, mounding it up on top so that it comes 1/2 inch above the top of the mold. Sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar and bake about 20 minutes until set. Allow to cool and slide ring molds off.

Serve with a scoop of high quality vanilla bean ice cream on top, and drizzle with warm caramel sauce.

Makes 15

Caramel Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup bourbon

Preparation:

Place sugar and water in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Split vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape seeds into sugar-water mixture, and add the split bean halves. As soon as mixture comes to a boil, brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, to prevent sugar from crystallizing. Continue to boil, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan.

When the mixture reaches a dark caramel color, remove from heat and carefully whisk in cream, butter and salt. Return to heat and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in bourbon. Set aside.

Use leftover sauce as an ice cream topping.

Makes 4 cups

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