Friday, December 13, 2013

Black and White Bread Pudding

by Sheila Connolly

These days I consistently embarrass my husband when we eat out by taking pictures of my meals.  Luckily cameras and cellphones are sensitive enough that flash is rarely necessary, because that would be even tackier.  But there are definitely dishes that I want to remember—and try to recreate.

On this most recent trip to Ireland we went back to a place where we’d eaten last year.  It’s called The Mills Inn in Ballyvourney, County Cork—the town of Ballyvourney is in one of the Gaeltachts, where only Irish is spoken within the community (they do speak English to outsiders who pass through), with a nice package of tax breaks for living there.  I went back to the restaurant because I was blown away by their filo-wrapped prawns last year (yes, I took a picture then), and I had them again this year.  As good as I remembered.
But this year I tried a dessert that really stood out:  a chocolate bread pudding.  Part of that was because it was nicely presented, with multiple sauces on the plate, each in its own container.  Part of it was because it simply tasted good.

I know, I gave you a classic American bread pudding not that long ago.  But this was different, and more interesting (and would impress guests more!).

Now, if you go online looking for chocolate bread pudding, you usually find some intense all-chocolate recipes, maybe with chocolate chips sprinkled in.  This one was smart:  layers of white and chocolate cake, in a standard egg/sugar/milk custardy mix. Aha, I said:  a relatively quick and easy dish, and a great way to use up stale cake.  What, you have no leftover cake?  Get ye to the market and buy a pound cake, fresh or frozen.  You need pound cake or a similarly dense cake so it will stand up to the eggy mix—regular cake will turn to mush.  In fact, slice it (if it isn’t already) and let it sit around uncovered and get just a bit stale.

I had more trouble finding chocolate pound cake.  Actually, I never did find it in a store, so I made one.  But this is something you can make well ahead of time and freeze, then whip it out when company’s coming and assemble the dish at the last moment.

The Mills presented this dish with the options of whipped cream, custard, and ice cream on the side.  Any of those is good, but I thought a dash of color and tartness might jazz it up just a bit, so I offer a puree of sweetened fresh raspberries.  You can pick and choose as you like.

If I may make some edits to my own recipe, next time I would make the slices of the cakes thinner, so there would be more layers.  I do have to point out that judging the volume of cake slices is not exactly easy, but this dish is forgiving:  if your top layer is left high and dry, just add more milk until the top slices are almost covered.  You won’t need to adjust the amount of the egg mixture because it distributes itself surprisingly well throughout.

Black and White Bread Pudding from The Mills Inn at Ballyvourney

3-1/2 cups stale cake or bread, half golden, half chocolate

3 cups warm whole milk (add more if needed)

1/4 tsp salt

4 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 Tblsp butter                                 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange the cake pieces in a baking dish and soak them in the milk.

Mix the other ingredients together and beat well.  Pour them over the soaked bread in the baking dish and stir lightly to blend.
Dot the top with small pieces of butter. Set the baking dish in a pan of hot water (the water should come about halfway up the sides) and cook for about 45-60 minutes, or until the top layer is crisp and lightly browned.
Serve with sauces of your choice or whipped cream on the side.

Hmm, must practice my sauce presentations...

Coming February 2014


  1. Very nice presentation. World class!
    How large is the pan that you used?

    1. Libby, it's roughly 9"x11.5". It's a pan I inherited from my mother, and it's nice heavyweight stainless so it cooks evenly. (There was a bigger one but my sister made off with it.)

  2. See my husband is the opposite--if I don't take a photo of dinner, he worries it isn't good enough for Mystery Lovers Kitchen!

  3. Now this could turn me into a bread pudding lover!

    1. I like the amount of chocolate--and it's not too sweet overall.

  4. Great post, Sheila.'Tis the season, so my "sauce of choice" might be a bed of Kahlua or spiced rum. Leave one of those under the tree for Santa and he might not finish his rounds. Ho. ho. ho, Merry DUI!

    ~ Cleo

  5. For those of you who have been seeing "32" cups of cake, I hope you figured out it should be 3-and-a-half! One of those formatting issues where two programs don't like each other much.

  6. I was already jealous about Ireland and now this. Sheesh. It does look great and much more interesting than the type we're used to. Thanks, Sheila. As soon as I have leftover cake, this is my solution.

  7. Oh, Sheila! I believe you have outdone yourself. This is fabulous!


  8. Sheila, how fun is this! Love it. And love all the sauces on the plate. And I can do this GF. Yay! I love when you share your trips with us.

    Daryl Avery