Restaurant cookbooks aren’t usually very good, as far as the recipes go. But chef Michael Anthony (and a team of very hardworking editors and cooks) made certain that the 125-plus recipes in this hefty tribute to the New York City restaurant worked. Among the many outstanding ones we tried from The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook, was this completely perfect, fail-proof version of chocolate bread pudding with irresistible little chips of melty chocolate on top.
CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING
Makes one 9-by-13-inch pan
Unsalted butter for the pan
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted in a small bowl
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate pieces (about 1/3 cup)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound Brioche (recipe follows), crusts removed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 ounces milk chocolate pieces (about 1/3 cup)
1 cup heavy cream, lightly whipped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325°F, with a rack in the middle position. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
In a large pot, combine the cream, 1 cup of the milk, and the sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pot, then toss in the bean. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup milk, the eggs, and yolks and whisk until smooth.
When the cream mixture boils, remove it from the heat and steadily whisk about a cup of the liquid into the egg mixture to temper it. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk about a cup of the egg mixture into the bowl of melted chocolate, then pour the chocolate mixture back into the pot, whisking constantly. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Add the brioche to the pot and stir the chocolate mixture well to break up the bread. Let the mixture stand for about 30 minutes so the brioche can absorb the liquid.
Pour the brioche mixture into the buttered pan. Sprinkle the bittersweet and milk chocolate pieces on top. Bake the bread pudding until it’s just set, 45 to 55 minutes; when it is ready, the pudding will puff up. Let the pudding cool for about 15 minutes before serving. Serve with the whipped cream, if you like.
Makes one 1 1/4-pound loaf
1/3 cup warm whole milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the bowl and pan
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash
In a very small bowl, combine the milk and yeast. Let sit for several minutes, then stir to dissolve the yeast.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and mix briefly. Add the eggs and the milk mixture and mix on low speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and the hook as needed, until a smooth ball forms, about 4 minutes.
With the mixer on low speed, add the butter a tablespoon at a time, allowing each piece to be incorporated before adding the next; this can take up to 30 minutes or so. The dough will likely creep up the hook during the process; stop the machine occasionally and push it back down.
After all the butter has been added, stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the hook. The dough will be very soft and sticky. Increase the speed to medium-low, then to medium, and knead the dough until it is smooth, shiny, and completely homogenous and comes away from the sides of the bowl, 10 to 15 minutes.
Butter a medium bowl. Turn the dough out into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Push the air out of the dough and fit it into the pan, flattening it into an even rectangle. To proof the dough, loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has tripled in size, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375°F, with a rack in the middle position.
Lightly brush the top of the risen dough with the egg wash. Bake until the brioche is golden brown and sounds hollow when you knock on it, about 35 minutes. Turn the loaf out onto a rack and let cool.
Reprinted from THE GRAMERCY TAVERN COOKBOOK. Copyright © 2013 by Gramercy Tavern Corp. Photographs © 2013 by Maura McEvoy. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc