Chocolate Babka Makes the Best Bread Pudding
Close your eyes and imagine a cross between toast, cake, and French toast. Are you thinking of bread pudding? If so, you’re on the right track. Bread pudding is creamy yet chewy, and should definitely be eaten on the couch while you're wearing cozy socks. The bread in the bread pudding holds its texture so well because it’s made with stale bread—or in this case stale babka, a sweet yeasted bread layered with chocolate. If you’re like me, and you’ve never let a babka hang out on your counter long enough to get stale (around 24 hours) I recommend deep self control. And I also might suggest you buy a second loaf of babka strictly for pinching off pieces when you inevitably pass by the one left out to stale several times a day.
Let’s do this. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease an 8-inch square baking pan with butter or cooking spray.
Some bread pudding are made French toast style, with slices of bread soaked in custard, but the greatest way to really permeate bread with liquid is to cube the bread. To achieve this, cut a loaf of chocolate babka into bite sized-ish chunks until you reach about 2-2½ cups of bread. Babka is made by twisting a thick rope of dough around itself, so unlike bread it probably won’t slice into perfect cubes. This is OK. Bread pudding is a rustic dish, and whether you’re serving it to your significant other’s mother or the Queen of England, I assure you neither will fault you for roughly chopped bread. They’ll be too busy stuffing their face to notice.
Whisk together 2 eggs, 1½ cups of whole milk, ¾ cup maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Pour the cubes of babka into the egg mixture, give it a stir, and then let sit for about 20 minutes. After the mixture has sat for a while, stir in 1 cup sliced berries.
Pour the mixture into the grease baking pan and bake the bread pudding for 40-45 minutes, or until the pudding is firm to the touch.
Let the bread pudding cool for 10 minutes, then scoop out large servings into bowls with a shower of chopped nuts and scoop of Greek yogurt or coconut whipped cream.