01/11/2013 02:43 EST | Updated 03/13/2013 05:12 EDT

Devilishly good and comforting too: chocolate espresso bread pudding

There's nothing more comforting than bread pudding when temperatures are frosty. Melting dark chocolate, whipping cream and espresso with soft, buttery brioche is a tasty way to satisfy a sweet tooth. This dessert is not only make-ahead, but it's also sophisticated and decadent.

Chocolate Espresso Bread Pudding

Brioche is a light and fluffy bread made with eggs, sugar and butter. Egg bread (challah) or white bread can be substituted. Use a rectangular loaf that makes square slices for the best presentation.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 5 to 10 minutes

Refrigeration time: 24 to 48 hours

Baking time: 40 to 45 minutes

175 g (6 oz) dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), roughly chopped

750 ml (3 cups) 35 per cent whipping cream, divided

175 ml (3/4 cup) granulated sugar

125 ml (1/2 cup) freshly brewed espresso or strong coffee

125 ml (1/2 cup) butter, cut into cubes

12 slices (1-cm/1/2-inch thick) day-old egg bread, brioche or white bread

4 eggs

Lightly butter a 3-l (13-by-9-inch) glass baking dish and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate, 500 ml (2 cups) of the cream, sugar, espresso and butter and melt over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, place slices of bread on a cutting board and cut off crusts. Cut each slice diagonally into 4 triangles. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Gradually pour in chocolate mixture in a thin stream, whisking well to combine. Spoon a 1-cm (1/2-inch) layer of chocolate mixture over bottom of prepared dish. Place half the bread triangles over the chocolate, overlapping slightly as you go. Pour half of the remaining chocolate mixture over bread, then cover with remaining bread in same pattern as before. Pour remaining chocolate mixture over the top. Press bread down all over with a fork to allow mixture to coat bread evenly. Let dish cool for 10 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or for up to 48 hours.

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Remove plastic wrap from dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until top is crunchy and pudding is set but pudding-like in the centre. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.

In a chilled bowl, whip remaining cream and serve with warm pudding.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (1/12 of recipe): 535 calories; 39 g fat; 40 g carbohydrates; 2.5 g fibre; 8 g protein; 297 mg sodium.

Source: Dairy Farmers of Canada,