Hello, hello! It’s my birthday today (yay for me!). That’s something to celebrate, don’t you think? These days I’m more inclined to make a fuss about my birthday; after all, not only is it my special day (along with the millions of others born on the same date), but I want to model for my four lovely granddaughters that a birth day is a special occasion, worthy of celebration and some hoopla.
Not only that, but I’ve now reached the pinnacle of my upper-middle fifties. Yep, I’m in the nosebleed section of this decade, turning 59 today. Or as my dear cousin said in our conversation earlier today, I need to stretch that number out. So, I’m fifty-niiiiine. And celebrating in training for the big one just around the next corner.
I indulged in a morning at the spa today (a gift to myself of r-e-l-a-x-a-t-i-o-n) followed by a lovely, quiet lunch. Ah, me time. Then I baked Little Miss H’s birthday cake, since her big day is tomorrow. After that I took Little Misses A and E bowling, a special edition of our weekly after school date to celebrate Nana’s birthday. (And they completely whupped me, by the way.) And as if that all weren’t enough, I dined out this evening in fine company. I’m feeling rather spoiled here, and very, very lucky indeed. <gratitude>
So, I’ve just nipped in to share this recipe for Raspberry Chocolate Bread Pudding with you. I made it for Christmas breakfast this year, as you might tell from the photos, but I think it’s the perfect way to celebrate any special occasion. Like a birthday. Especially a 59th. Or, why not make it to transform any ordinary day into one that much more special?
Raspberry Chocolate Bread Pudding
© Marlene Cornelis/Urban Cottage Life 2017
I like to use a good crusty bread for bread puddings, and you can use whole grain or white. The milk can be regular dairy or a substitute like a nut milk. There’s a lot of room for flexibility here!
Butter a 7×11-inch baking dish and set aside.
- about 14 oz (400 g) crusty whole wheat bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 eggs
- 3-1/2 cups almond milk
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1-3/4 oz (50 g) dark chocolate (I used 70%), chopped
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
For the Crumble Topping
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- pinch salt
- 1/3 cup large flake oatmeal
Tightly pack the bread cubes into the buttered baking dish and set aside. They may be quite crammed but if they’re layered in some spots that’s okay.
Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the milk, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon and stir until everything is smoothly incorporated. Stir in the dark chocolate bits. Yay for you — you just made a custard!
Carefully and slowly pour the custard all over the dish of bread, giving it time to soak in. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or foil and place it in the refrigerator overnight or for at least a few hours.
Now it’s time to make the crumble — this way, when it’s time to bake the bread pudding you won’t need to faff about. It’s always a treat to have everything ready ahead of time and good to go! Add the butter, flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder and salt to a small bowl and cut together with a pastry cutter or a fork. Once the mixture is the size of small peas, stir through the oatmeal. Cover and let the bowl sit on the counter until you’re ready to bake the pudding.
About 30 minutes before you plan to bake the bread pudding, preheat the oven to 350℉. Remove the dish from the fridge and use a fork or spoon to carefully, gently turn over each piece of bread, so the wettest part is now on top and the rest can soak up more of the milk mixture. Then scatter the raspberries over the bread, pushing some down in between the pieces. Finally, evenly strew the crumble topping over.
Bake for about 45 minutes, then check for doneness. The bread pudding should be puffed up and golden brown on top, and the centre should be creamy but not wet. Bake longer if needed.
Let it sit for a few minutes, then cut and plate the servings. For added flair you could serve this with a raspberry coulis, but that might be gilding the lily!