What’s For Dinner?
Chocolate Bread Pudding With Clear Caramel Sauce - from Soho
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
From the menu of . . . Soho
4300 Paces Ferry Road S.E., Atlanta
Q: I recently dined at SoHo in Vinings, and after dinner everyone in my party insisted that I try the chocolate bread pudding for dessert. It was divine!
- Tom Reagan, Winston
A: SoHo co-owner Frank Smith wasn't surprised by the request; he says the chocolate bread pudding has been the restaurant's top-selling dessert for nine years. "When you see it, you think it's going to be very dense and heavy, but it's very light and airy - and people love it, " he said. "It's not your typical fudge brownie dessert."
Hands on time: 20 minutes Total time: 45 minutes Serves: 8
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 pound (about 7 slices) fresh bread crumbs
11 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Clear Caramel Sauce (see recipe below)
Clear Caramel Sauce:
Hands on: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Although the sauce will nearly solidify as it cools, it melts quickly in the microwave.
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water, divided
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bring a tea kettle of water to a simmer. In a saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Meanwhile, place the bread crumbs and chocolate in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Lightly coat an 8-by-12-inch or 9-by-13-inch pan with butter; set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar. Whisk in a small amount of the heated cream, then whisk the egg yolk mixture into the hot cream. Remove the saucepan from the heat; whisk in the vanilla extract. Pour the cream mixture over the bread crumbs and chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted.
Transfer to the prepared pan. Place the pan in a larger baking dish and pour the simmering water into the outer pan, about 1 inch up the sides. Bake the bread pudding in its water bath for 30 to 40 minutes, until set in the center. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and warm caramel sauce. (Note: Bread pudding can be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 325 degree oven or in the microwave.)
For Clear Caramel Sauce:
Combine sugar and 1/2 cup water in a heavy saucepan. Cook over high heat, swirling occasionally to dissolve sugar, and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid turns caramel in color, 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully add remaining 1/2 cup water and swirl to dissolve. Transfer mixture to heat-resistant glass or ceramic bowl. Cool slightly before serving, or cool to room temperature and then reheat a few seconds in microwave before serving.
Per serving: 129 calories (percent of calories from fat, 0), no protein, 33 grams carbohydrates, no fiber, no fat, no cholesterol, 1 milligram sodium.
Tester's note: Quality bittersweet chocolate can be expensive and a bit hard to find. A reasonable substitute is to use 1 (12-ounce) bag of miniature semisweet chocolate chips, minus 1/4 cup. Because semisweet chocolate is sweeter than bittersweet, reduce the granulated sugar from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup.