Cajun chocolate bread pudding

Yield: 9 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 quart Half-and-half
¾ cup Sugar
5 Eggs, jumbo
3½ teaspoon Vanilla
1½ teaspoon Cinnamon
9 cups Fresh french bread cubes
1 cup Milk chocolate chips
4 tablespoons Butter, lightly salted; at room temperature
¼ cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Brandy
1 Egg
2 tablespoons Jack Daniel's Black Label whiskey
4 tablespoons Butter, lightly salted
1½ cup Whipping cream
¾ cup Brown sugar
¼ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper

PUDDING

TOPPING

WHISKEY SAUCE

1. FOR THE PUDDING: Combine half-and-half, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Beat by hand for 3 minutes.

2. Cut bread into 1-inch square cubes. Add them to the half-and-half mixture. Let soak for 30 minutes, occasionally tossing gently.

3. Spoon soaked bread and leftover liquid into a buttered 10-inch cake pan. Push chocolate chips into pudding mixture. Set aside.

4. FOR THE TOPPING: Beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugar, brandy and egg. Beat at medium speed for 1 minute.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat at high speed for 1 minute. Pour topping over bread.

5. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 1½ hours. Let cool about 15 minutes.

6. FOR THE WHISKEY SAUCE: Combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan.

Simmer for 4 minutes, lightly whisking occasionally.

7. To serve: Cut pudding into serving-size pieces. Top with whiskey sauce. Serve warm.

Makes 9 to 12 servings.

Source: The Original Crawdaddy Bayou Restaurant in Wheeling, Illinois (printed in the Chicago Sun Times, January 15, 1997)

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