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Chocolate Tequila Bread Pudding

This decadent bread pudding actually works better with day-old bread which is drier and soaks up more of the good stuff.

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 loaf day-old French bread, cut into 1/2-inch slices, divided in half (we used Tuscany bread)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup diced pineapple
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup Kahlua
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Confectioners' sugar

Place the sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts and becomes a light golden color. (Do not let sugar cook any longer; it will become bitter as it darkens.) Pour into a 9-by-9-inch ceramic or glass baking dish and tilt pan to evenly coat the bottom and sides with the sugar. Let cool.

Line the pan with the bread slices and drizzle the melted butter evenly over the bread. Scatter the pineapple (we left this out) and chocolate chips over the top.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, tequila, Kahlua (we left this out) and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or until the bread has fully absorbed the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set the baking dish in the oven in a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough water to reach about 1 inch up the sides of the pan of pudding. Bake until the pudding is firm, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. If the bread is browning on the top too quickly (before the pudding sets), cover with foil. Remove the pudding from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Using a hand-held or tabletop mixer, whip the cream and sugar until firm peaks form. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

When the pudding has cooled for 20 to 30 minutes and is warm but not hot, cut into squares and place in shallow soup bowls. Top each square with a dollop of whipped cream. Sift the confectioners' sugar over the desserts, lightly dusting the plates. Serves 6 to 8.

"Chevys & Rio Bravo Fresh Mex Cookbook"

Sunday, July 16, 2000

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