In The Kitchen With: Erika Dudley’s Mocha Bread Pudding

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I’d like to kick off Black History month with a recipe by Chicago-based humanities instructor, Erika Dudley. I met Erika through Twitter. We bonded over a similar experience of living in Rome, and a love for food. I thought she was a foodie like many others, but then I started to follow her Instagram feed and I was really blown away by the diversity of dishes she prepared on a regular basis. She’s not just a foodie, I found out, she’s a trained chef! I have been trying to figure a way to move to Chicago, to her neighborhood to get myself invited over for meals on a regular basis. Her photos of mocha bread pudding lead to the recipe appearing here. Bread pudding is very easy to make, and as we’ve noted here on the column in the past, chocolate and coffee are one of the most sought after food combinations! -Kristina

About Erika: Erika Dudley considers her job the best job in the world. She creates and leads classes, events, and opportunities for people to engage in the humanities with a particular focus on the arts.  Through the University of Chicago, she manages programming to engage graduates of the Odyssey Project, a free humanities-based program for low income adults.  She also co-created a series called Progressive Conversations. These are courses taught through the University of Chicago and monthly events highlighting the cultural capital of the South Side of Chicago through the visual and performing arts, history, food, and drink. This allows her to flex her cooking skills, which were gained at the Cordon Bleu.  She has lived in Italy and France, and has worked in French and Japanese restaurants, student-run catering business, and Krystal’s! You can follow her delicious Instagram feed at @francoitalian.

See Erica’s full recipe after the jump!

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Mocha bread pudding
Serves 4

Ingredients

 

  • 3 cups of bread cubes (About a 1/3-1/2 of a loaf of bread with a dense crumb)
  • 3.5 ounces/100g of semisweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup/150ml strong coffee
  • 3.5 tablespoons/50g of butter
  • 2/3 cup/150ml milk
  • 3.5 tablespoons/50ml of heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Pinch of salt

For the whipped cream

  • 1 cup/240ml of heavy cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of mascarpone (optional)
  • Ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F/180C

  1. In a heatproof bowl that will be used as a double boiler, add the chocolate, coffee, and butter. Maintaining a gentle simmer, slowly melt the chocolate and stir occasionally until there’s a smooth liquid. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. Butter four cup-sized ovenproof containers.
  3. Meanwhile, remove the crust and cut the bread into 3/4″ squares.
  4. Place about one quarter of the bread crumbs in each dish (approximately 3/4 cup of bread crumbs in each dish)
  5. In a large bowl, whisk the milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and salt.
  6. Add about a 1/4 cup (60ml) of the chocolate mixture to temper the custard and avoid curdling the eggs. Whisk and then gradually add the rest of the chocolate mixture. Whisk until smooth and then add the vanilla.
  7. Ladle the custard over the bread. Gently press the bread cubes into the custard so that each piece is completely bathed in chocolate. You can allow it to sit up to a 2-3 minutes but not too long or it will be mushy.
  8. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil and into the oven.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  11. Whip cream just to soft peaks. Slowly add the sugar. Add the mascarpone if using and whisk until smooth.
  12. Add a large dollop of cream and sprinkle with a little cinnamon.

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 Why Erika loves this recipe

I’ve always loved puddings: their silkiness and warmth give me comfort. I especially associate these kind of desserts with my mom. She taught me how to liven up dishes using leftovers. And if you know me, you know that live and breathe for coffee. Anything where it shines is my kind of food.

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Natalie

Oh my. That looks amazing. Is this intended as a breakfast recipe? Nevermind, don’t judge me, nom nom nom :)

Nita

Can you imagine having Erika as a roommate? I think i would forget about my diet in a blink of an eye. It looks delicious!

Amy Azzarito

@magicalsummer – bread pudding is usually made with bread CUBES. see the photo above to get a sense of the cube size. Bread crumbs would not work. :)

Kristina

@magicalsummer – as Amy referred, this recipe uses bread cubes, though I see how my reference to a dense crumb may be confusing. I am not sure if there is another way to describe the inside of bread (I’ve always heard “crumb” used to refer to the texture of bread and cakes) but you want a hearty bread, not a light and airy bread, so that the cubes can soak up the custard and make a ‘pudding’. Light and airy bread probably would not render the same results.

Shannon

This is irresistible. I’m such a bread pudding person. Hi, Erika–Chicago alum over here. I miss the neighborhood and the city so much!

Erika

@magicalsummer
This recipe works best with medium-sized cubes from a rather dense bread. An airy bread would produce a soggy pudding. If you use a different bread, please tell me how it turned out. I love bread pudding!

Erika

@shannon
Thanks for the Chicago S/O! I’m from Atlanta but I have loved living here. So much to do. Hope you like the recipe.

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