2 hrs 30 mins
Chocolate Brioche Club Sandwich is Chef Nancy Silverton’s fancy name for an impressive chocolate bread pudding. First baked in a loaf pan, it’s chilled overnight before being sliced into thin sandwiches and heated once more before serving.
What to buy:
Depending on the size of your brioche, you may have to trim it to fit the pan correctly.
Using a serrated knife, slice off crust of the brioche. Cut bread horizontally into 3 (1/2-inch-thick) slices, reserve, and set aside the scraps for another use.
For the custard:
Combine milk, cream, crushed cardamom, and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Using a small paring knife, split vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and with the back of the knife, scrape out the pulp and the seeds; add seeds and pod to the mixture. Bring mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Allow to steep for about 30 minutes and discard cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean pod. Return to medium heat, bring back to a boil, and immediately remove from the heat.
Whisk together eggs and yolk in a large bowl until broken up. Whisking constantly, slowly pour cream mixture into eggs. Whisk in chocolate until completely melted. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve and add sugar, to taste.
Adjust oven rack to middle and heat oven to 300°F.
For the soaking liquid:
Whisk milk, cream, cocoa powder, and sugar in a medium bowl to combine. Pour liquid into a shallow rectangular dish.
Place one brioche slice in the soaking liquid, and press it gently to help it absorb the liquid, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn it over, and press it again. The brioche should be very spongy and thoroughly saturated; let it soak about 4 minutes total.
Pour a layer of custard into a 6-cup-capacity (8 1/2 – by – 4 1/2 – by – 2 1/2 – inch) glass or ceramic loaf pan, just enough to cover bottom of the pan. Transfer soaked slice of brioche to the pan, and pour a layer of custard over it, enough to cover it. (If the bread is too soft to pick up in one piece, cut it in half and then transfer it.) Soak another piece of bread in the same manner, and place in the loaf pan. Pour a layer of custard over it, and repeat the process with the third piece of bread, pouring the remaining custard over the top, so that it comes up to 1/4 inch below the rim of the loaf pan.
Cover pan tightly with a piece of aluminum foil that is domed in the center so that it doesn’t come into contact with the custard. Prick foil a few times with a fork, so that steam can escape. Place loaf pan in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, and fill baking dish with 1 inch hot water. Bake until custard is set, about 1 hour. Remove from water bath, carefully remove foil, and allow to cool. Cover loaf pan with plastic wrap, and chill overnight or up to 5 days.
Before serving, heat oven to 400°F.
Fill the sink with about 1 inch of hot water. Put loaf pan in water and allow it to sit there for a minute or two to help loosen pudding from the pan. Run a knife around perimeter of pan, and invert onto a flat surface. Cut the pudding into about 10 (3/4-inch-thick) slices.
Place each slice on an ovenproof plate, and heat in oven until the top is gently browned, about 5 minutes. Pour a few tablespoons of cream around the edge of the sandwich and serve.