White Chocolate Bread Pudding

The Palace Cafe, located on New Orleans' Canal Street in the old Werlein's Building, is the newest restaurant from the Brennan family, who also operate some of the City's finest restaurants: Commander's Palace, Mr. B's Bistro and Bacco. This dessert has become extremely popular, and has practically become The Palace Cafe's signature dessert.

You will absolutely slay your guests if you make this. I've had dinner guests describe this dessert as "orgasmic", and "the best dessert I've ever had".

For the pudding:

Heat the cream in a double boiler and add the white chocolate; when the chocolate is melted, remove from heat.

In a double boiler, heat the milk, sugar, eggs and egg yolks until warm. Blend the egg mixture into the cream and chocolate mixture.

Place the bread slices in a baking pan. Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the bread and let settle for a while, making sure the bread soaks up all the mixture. Top with the rest of the mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Top with Tart Cherry-Zinfandel Sauce, or make a sauce by thinning some good jam or fruit preserves with rum and gently heating it in a saucepan, or, if you're truly a glutton for rich food and a large waistline, drizzle with the white chocolate sauce below:

For the white chocolate sauce:

Gently melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Remove from heat and mix in heavy cream. Spoon over bread pudding.

You can also use milk, semisweet or bittersweet chocolate in this sauce, although I think a lighter, fruitier sauce works better; all that chocolate can be overkill. (Oh Gawd, did I just really say that?)

Serves 8.


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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)