One of the fascinating things about cooking all the way through a single cookbook is you start to recognize and anticipate the author’s style. Maybe she tends to go thin and crispy, when you like thick and chewy. Or she adds nuts where you wouldn’t. But they’re perfectly honest differences, and it’s easy enough to find a happy workaround.
But I’m having a hard time rationalizing this week’s botched TWD experience. Call it mission creep, psychic entropy, good old-fashioned mule-headedness.
Or I’ll just blame it on the eggs.
You see, the two recipes that have fallen flat for me from Dorie’s cookbook were, very simply, too eggy: 1) the floating islands (though I’m in love with the stunning caramel threads) and 2) the lemon cup custard. So when I saw that Dorie wanted us to use 3 large eggs and 4 large egg yolks, I balked.
So I decided to cut back to 4 eggs. And then I noticed that this recipe required tempering the eggs so they don’t curdle, a maneuver I don’t especially enjoy (it’s so demoralizing if those grubby little bits of scrambled egg appear); furthermore, it was quite possible my custard wouldn’t come together properly without the extra egg yolks in there. So I looked for a way around that step. And let’s just cut to the chase. I basically ended up making my family’s go-to chocolate raisin bread pudding recipe from Epicurious.
I’m not proud of this turn of events, though the standby recipe is very easy and quite good. I did pour Dorie’s chocolate sauce on top. Does that count for anything?
I used a mix of bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate, along with dried cranberries and dried cherries. Somehow this dessert tastes a little better to me in the dead of winter, which is when I traditionally make it, but it was darn good nonetheless.
Surely, Dorie’s 4-star chocolate bread pudding is wonderful, particularly if you make it with challah or brioche, as she suggests. You can find the recipe on Lauren’s blog, Upper East Side Chronicle, or on pages 410-411 of Baking: From My Home to Yours.