Wolfgang Puck's Chocolate Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries

Wolfgang shared one of his favorite dessert recipes with us.
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Ingredients

1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large egg whites
2 large eggs
Nonstick cooking spray
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices good-quality whole wheat bread, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 tablespoons dried cherries or dried cranberries
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt or Zesty Vanilla Nonfat Yogurt Sherbet, for serving (optional)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, combine the buttermilk, chocolate chips, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the cocoa powder. Heat over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and sugar have melted and the mixture is well combined. Remove from the heat.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and water.
  3. In a slightly smaller bowl, using a hand mixer or wire whisk, beat together the egg whites and eggs until lightly foamy.
  4. Beating continuously, slowly sprinkle in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until the mixture looks fluffy. Then, whisking continuously, very slowly pour in the chocolate mixture. Set the bowl inside the larger bowl of ice water to chill.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fill a pan or kettle with water and bring to a boil.
  6. Spray the inside of a 4-by-9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  7. Spread half of the bread cubes in the baking dish. Scatter in the dried cherries or cranberries and then top with more bread cubes. Stir the cooled chocolate egg mixture and spoon it evenly over the bread cubes. Leave to soak until the oven has reached the desired temperature.
  8. Place the baking dish inside a baking pan with high sides. Pull out an oven rack and place the baking pan on the rack; carefully pour enough of the boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the side of the baking dish; and then carefully slide the rack into the oven.
  9. Bake the bread pudding until the custard has set, about 20 minutes.
  10. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and remove the baking dish from the pan to a rack. Serve hot, lukewarm, or cooled and refrigerated, cutting into 8 to 12 portions.
  11. If you like, top each portion with a small scoop of nonfat yogurt or Zesty Vanilla Nonfat Yogurt Sherbet and dust with a little confectioners' sugar before serving.

Serves 8 to 12

Excerpted from the book Wolfgang Puck Makes It Healthy, by Wolfgang Puck. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Life and Style. All rights reserved.

Originally published in the September 2014 issue of Family Circle magazine.