August 28, 2010

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Pears Surpise

I have a real aversion against waste of food. I just cannot stand it. I think it’s a crime against humanity and it really bothers me. These feelings come in part from the fact that I grew up in a relatively poor family. I never starved myself (although my parents did…post WWII in Europe were of course tough times) but I did have a lot of deprivations and I had parents that passed on me this thing of not wasting food as a strong moral rule. To this you have to add the fact that I have worked in the economic and rural development field for ten years, thus, even when I grew out of poverty myself I have seen and lived close to it in my years spent abroad (mainly Mexico and India). Now that I live in the US, of course, I experience a lot of food wasting and that really really really bothers me.

I mean, it happens to me too, you know? You go to the groceries, you buy a bunch of good food and then you have a tough week, no time to cook or are often out of home and you end up wasting food. It really happens to me too. But it still bothers me and I try to keep waste at a minimum. The one thing that is very easy to waste is bread. You buy it, you make it (and I love making it a lot!) and then it gets stale so quickly that you don’t have time to finish it, above all if your household is made of two people only, like mine.

However, bread really is something not to waste and I’m happy that there are thousands of ways to use stale bread. In Italy, though, we use it mainly in cooking but not really in baking. I realized this the other day when I found my stale bread bag soooo full that I could have fed an army but did not want to use it for cooking because it was just too hot to do anything. That’s when I thought of a wonderful way Americans (and others…but I’ve tried it here for the first time in my life) have to use stale bread: bread pudding. I love bread pudding. I simply love it and I don’t know how I could live for 30 years without knowing about it!

So, as other times, my turn came to try my first bread pudding. I had other things to use up, though, and in particular I had pears….one of my favorite fruit of all time. The chocolate-pear combo is a wonderful one in baking. In Italy chocolate-pear cake recipes are very common but I never tried a chocolate-pear bread pudding so I had to today! By the way, the chocolate-pear combo is known to be aphrodisiac (chocolate-pear cakes are made a lot around Valentine’s Day) but I thought “why should we wait until the dessert of a fancy dinner?! Why not start directly at breakfast or snack time?!”. I’m happy I tried: I loved my first bread pudding (and I used up all my stale bread and rotten pears!)

Chocolate Bread Pudding with a Pears Surprise

470 ml (16 fl oz or 2 cups) whole milk, warmed
60 gr (1/2 stick or 4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted in microwave
150 gr (5.3 oz or 3/4 cup) sugar
3 eggs
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
230 gr (8 oz) bread, cut into cubes
150 gr (5.35 oz or 1 cup) chocolate chips
3 small pears peeled and sliced or chopped

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir the warmed milk and the melted butter with the sugar, the eggs, and the vanilla extract. Whisk until incorporated and smooth.

Line a medium size baking dish with slices of pear and two-thirds of the bread cubes. Sprinkle with half of the chocolate chips and the remaining pears cut into small chunks. Top with the remaining bread cubes and chocolate chips.

Pour the milk mixture slowly over the top of everything and let stand until the bread has absorbed almost all of the liquid (5 to 10 minutes).

Wrap the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and cook for other 10 to 15 minutes, or until set in the middle and lightly browned on top.

Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

Adapted from Food Network

Chocolate Bread Pudding With Pears Surprise on Foodista


  1. I love bread pudding, it's one of my favorite ways to use up stale bread! Great recipe :o)

  2. When I was growing up my mom made bread pudding quite frequently when we had leftover bread. She never made chocolate pear pudding though! I agree with you on the food waste issue- I try not to waste food but sometimes it happens. This bread pudding is a great way to use that stale bread. Thanks!

  3. Since when I tried bread pudding in the US I love it! I had to give it a try to and you guys know how much I like simple recipes...bread pudding is definitely low stress...perfect for a treat after a busy week!

  4. I've really grown to love bread pudding, too! This is a great idea using the chocolate and pears. I imagine the pears also add some nice moisture to the stale bread. I've never tried this combination before--I'll have to give it a go!

  5. I've never tried a chocolate bread pudding, it looks yummy:)

  6. I totally agree with your views on wasting food. And, because it's just my husband and I, it's difficult sometimes to finish what we buy. We make a lot of french toast with stale bread, but bread pudding is definitely a new alternative I need to try!

  7. I have been staring to my foodbuzz inbox for an hour and found many recipes with chocolate.

    Agreed with you wasting food.

  8. I agree with you about not wasting food. It should be punishable! Now back to this delicious combination. YUMM! Banana and chocolate with bread.... What a treat!

  9. I do share your value of trying not to waste food. Imagine the guilt I felt every time I clear out my perishables from the fridge at the end of week - they all costing me money!

    Bread pudding is definitely my go-to option to use up stale bread. I really like your version with the pears and chocolate, I think you can do no wrong with this combination. :)

  10. Ooooh bread pudding is one of my favorites! I actually had some bread waiting for a good recipe and then my boyfriend used it for croutons :( We try not to waste food around here either! i love the addition of pears!

  11. I know I've already commented on this post, but I wanted to let you know that I gave you a Versatile Blogger award!

  12. Thank you all ladies. I think bread pudding has become my new way of using up staple bread. I'm excited about trying many different variations. Let me know if you have any favorite or original combination of flavors.
    And Koci, thank you so much! I feel very flattered! I will stop by to collect my award soon :)

  13. I love bread pudding, too, and it also took me awhile to finally try it! Now, I can rarely pass it up. What a creative way to use pears, it looks delicious!

  14. "although my parents did…post WWII in Europe" Mine too. My Mom's Belgian and my Dad French. Amazing the frugality and toughness that is passed along from being raised by parents who went through what they did, eh?

    I love bread pudding and was just given 10 pounds of pears. I think I know where a batch will be going!

  15. Christiane, you'll just have to leave the chocolate out....I did like it here though so you might consider giving it a try!


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