I’ve already confessed to you all in the past that my cookbook collection is out of control. Well, it’s time for another confession. If the thought of finding cookbooks in four rooms of my house gives you the heebie jeebies and makes you think that calling the producers of “Hoarders” might be the next step, then whatever you do, DON’T think about my collection of cooking magazine back issues.
I’ve kept every back issue of (almost) every cooking magazine I’ve subscribed to over the past eight years. That’s a lot of magazines, and a lot of closet space taken up.
I know, it’s scary, but…it’s getting better. We’re moving this summer, and one of the great things about moving is, it forces me to really dig deep and look into what I really, truly need. And then, I get rid of the rest of the stuff. I have Goodwill receipts coming out of my ears right now.
So, my latest project has been to get through this back log of magazines and extract, and file, only the recipes that I can actually see myself using. I’ve made it through most of the magazines, and hope to finish the rest of them up today. You can’t imagine how happy this makes me. I feel like I’ve tackled an elephant. A really large, kind elephant, with impeccable cooking and photography skills.
One of the nice things about going through all of these back issues is, I’ve run into some old favorites that I’d made before, but after I made them, they got lost in the shuffle. This is one of those recipes. I’ve made this a few times, and it’s always a hit. Besides being delicious, it’s also incredibly easy, different, and perfect for entertaining because you can make them up way ahead of time and just bake them off when it’s time to devour them.
I start by cutting the crusts off some old-fashioned white bread (I use Pepperidge Farm), buttering one side of each piece, and then spreading some orange marmalade over those buttered pieces.
I also butter the insides of four small ramekins.
Once the bread is ready, I cut each slice into quarters. Then, I layer the bread pieces into the ramekins. I make two layers each of four of the little bread pieces and a sprinkling of chocolate chips.
After the layers are nestled in there tightly, I quickly whisk up a mixture of milk, eggs, a bit of heavy cream, vanilla, and sugar.
I carefully pour a little bit of the egg mixture into each ramekin, let it settle down, and then pour a little more in. When I’ve poured and poured, and the mixture stops soaking in, I know that I’ve got enough in there. (I always have some of the egg mixture left. They never take all of it.)
Now, at this point, I always put the ramekins together on a tray, cover it all with plastic wrap, and pop it into the fridge for a few hours (at least) before we’re ready to eat them. You could bake them right away, but I think that letting them settle for a bit before baking allows that bread to fully soak up that egg mixture.
About thirty minutes before I want to bake them, I take them out of the fridge and let them warm up a bit as my oven preheats. When it’s time to bake them, they go into a 375* oven for about 25 minutes. Look at them around 20 minutes. If they still look a little bit “wet”, then let them have a few minutes more.
They puff up beautifully in the oven, but that puff doesn’t hang around for long. Don’t be disappointed when they de-poof! The finished result should be slightly toasty on the top, and feel set if you push gently on top of the pudding.
I let them cool for a few minutes, so we don’t burn our faces off, and then we dig in, while they’re still nice and warm.
They were delicious, just as we’d remembered. The orange and chocolate compliment each other perfectly, and the pudding bakes up to be deliciously buttery and creamy, but not too heavy at all. All in all, it was a perfect, cozy little dessert for a chilly winter night with friends and family. Thank goodness I’d held on to that magazine all these years, right?
INDIVIDUAL CHOCOLATE & ORANGE BREAD PUDDINGS
Adapted from Fine Cooking
- 8 slices good quality American white bread (I use Pepperidge Farm)
- 2 Tbsp. butter, softened, plus more for greasing the ramekins
- 1/3 cup orange marmalade
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- If making right away, heat the oven to 375*. Lightly butter four 1 1/4 cup ramekins.
- Slice the crusts off of the bread. Spread the softened butter over one side of each of the bread slices. Then, spread some of the marmalade over the butter on each slice.
- Cut each slice of bread into four equal pieces. Arrange four pieces of the bread in the bottom of each ramekin, overlapping to fit. Sprinkle the bread with a few chocolate chips. Repeat the layers one more time, filling the ramekin.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, carefully, taking your time. Pour in a little, let it soak in, and pour in some more. Once you’ve poured in enough that you can see the liquid at the top and it stops soaking in, you have enough in your ramekin. You don’t have to use all of the egg-milk mixture.
- At this point, you can cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and chill the desserts until you’re just about ready to bake them.
- About 30 minutes before baking, remove them from the fridge and let them come to room temperature.
- Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake at 375* for 20-25 minutes. When they are ready, the puddings will be puffed and golden brown, and they will feel “set”.
- Let them cool for a few minutes, and then serve warm.