OK guys ... the folks over at Marx Foods are at it again. Or should I say the folks over at Marx Foods have ME at it again? This time around, it was a chocolate challenge. They sent all of the participants a variety of items to use in conjunction with chocolate. At least one item needed to be included, and the recipe could be something sweet or savory. The ingredients we were sent to choose from were:
- Fennel Pollen (one of my favorites)
- Dried Chilies - adobo and puya
- Coconut Sugar
- Granulated Candy Cap Mushrooms
- Vanilla Beans
I opted to use the Fennel Pollen, Puya Chilies, Coconut Sugar, and Vanilla Beans in my recipe. My first thought was to try a mole sauce since I have yet to do that, but I have so much going on this week, I was concerned about time. Then I thought about French Toast or Crepes, but finally settled on the Bread Pudding. I have never made a chocolate bread before, but I'll certainly be making it again! I was very surprised by the texture. It had that slight chewy pull of a bread, but a velvety mouth feel because of the chocolate.
This recipe may be as time consuming as a mole, but I haven't read up on that yet to know what is involved, and at least while my dough was rising, I could be doing other things ... like baking an Egg Nog Kadayif, making Tabouli, and tackling some of the clean-up from last night's big Sukiyaki birthday dinner. I'm not a Sushi kinda gal. I do love Tempura, but Sukiyaki is my absolute favorite! Lucky for me, everyone else loves it too! Even luckier that my nephew requested it for his birthday.
Wanting to use as many of the ingredients as I could, I was thinking about whipping the fennel pollen with some cream, but I decided the whipped cream might be too much with the sauce, so I instead infused the fennel pollen into a little powdered sugar and dusted the top. That stuff is like GOLD, so I cried a little when I did that - wanting to savor the fennel pollen for as long as possible. ;)
CHOCOLATE BREAD :
1 T yeast
1 T coconut sugar
3/4 c tepid milk
4 T butter4 oz bar Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate
2 1/4 c bread flour
2 t instant espresso powder
5 T coconut sugar
1/4 c Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder
1 vanilla bean
1 t sea salt
In the bowl of your stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast. To the yeast, add the 1T of coconut sugar, along with the warm milk. Let that bloom for about 5", until it gets nice and bubbly.
In the meantime, break up the bar of chocolate and set that over a double boiler with the 4T of butter to melt. If you don't have a double boiler, just find a bowl that fits over a small pot and fill the pot with water, but not quite touching the bowl.
In a separate bowl, stir together the bread flour, espresso powder, remaining 5T coconut sugar, and cocoa powder. Make sure you're keeping an eye on your chocolate.
Split open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. So you don't waste the rest of the pod, you can either add it to an existing bottle of vanilla for a little boost, or pour some sugar in a covered container, add the bean and give it a shake every now and again so you end up with a vanilla sugar.
Remove your melted chocolate from the heat and let that sit for a few minutes so you don't end up cooking your egg with it.
Lightly beat the egg, vanilla bean, and sea salt into the yeast mixture, then add half the flour mixture, followed by streaming in half the chocolate, and repeat. I used the dough hook, but I think the dough was loose enough that the regular whip attachment should work just fine. Let it run for about 5" until smooth and elastic.
Lightly spray a bowl with cooking spray, or brush with oil, scoop in the dough, turning to coat, then set in a warm place for 1.5' to raise.
Spray an 8" round cake pan with PAM Baking, then knead the dough a few times, lightly pat it into the pan, and let it raise again for 45" to 1'. FYI - I got a really nice rise the first time, but not as much the second time around.
Bake at 350 for 35-40".
I was thinking that when it baked, it would bubble up like a peasant loaf, but it stayed pretty flat. Look at that nice crumb though. I baked the loaf yesterday and let it sit out to dry some so I could make the bread pudding with it today.
BREAD PUDDING :
I loaf chocolate bread - cubed
1/3 c coconut sugar
2 c milk
2 t vanilla
To put together the bread pudding, I followed my usual recipe in that I soaked the cubes in the milk, then added the remaining ingredients. Now, having worked with the chocolate bread, the next time I make this, I'll do it differently, because it kinda turned to mush! The bread was too delicate to be tossed with the egg mixture, soooo ...
Butter an 11 3/4" x 7 1/2" baking dish, and nestle in the cubed bread. Beat together the sugar, milk, eggs, and vanilla, and pour evenly over the bread. Let that sit for at least an hour to soak up the liquid.
Set that pan inside a larger pan, and fill the larger pan with hot water to create a water bath. Bake at 350 for 35-40" until set. If you aren't able to remove the smaller pan from the larger pan to get it out of the hot water, try holding the two pans over the sink and tilting to one corner to pour out the water first. If you're not comfortable doing it that way, here's a chance to bust out the turkey baster!
While you're waiting for the bread pudding to cool a little, go ahead and make your raspberry sauce.
RASPBERRY SAUCE :
12 oz bag frozen (unsweetened) raspberries - thawed
1/3 c sugar
2 t lemon juice
1 vanilla bean
2 puya chile peppers
1 T cornstarch
2 T water
Fill a bowl with very hot water and drop in the chile peppers, covering them if necessary to keep them from popping out. Let them steep until soft, then squeeze out the water, slice them open and scrape the flesh off the skin. Depending on how much heat you like will determine whether you leave the seeds with the flesh. I'll be serving this at an office pot luck tomorrow, and probably not everyone likes it hot, so I removed most of the seeds.
Split open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds, adding the pod to whatever you did with the first one - I hate to waste those!!
In a small pot, cook the raspberries with the sugar, the flesh from the chilies, and the vanilla bean until nicely broken down and soupy. If you don't have any vanilla beans and are planning to use extract, I would add it at the end rather than cooking it with the raspberries. I was originally planning on leaving the seeds, but when I saw just how many there were, I changed my mind! Pour the raspberry mixture over a strainer into a bowl or large measuring cup.
While the raspberry mixture is draining, stir together the cornstarch and water to form a slurry.
Pour the strained raspberry mixture back into the pot and return it to the heat. Stir in the lemon juice while it's coming back up to temp, then add the slurry and let it come to a boil for a minute or so to thicken - stirring constantly so it doesn't bubble over or scorch.
To serve, spoon a little of the raspberry sauce onto the plate to form a pool, place the bread pudding over the sauce, then lightly sprinkle the fennel pollen infused powdered sugar over the top.
As usual, a BIG thanks to everyone at Marx Foods for the samples!
The polls are open until Thursday (12/22/2011) - click here to vote for your favorite.