This was something of an accident. I didn’t intend to fuel the current frenzy for Nutella, but I ran out of chocolate filling for the bread pudding I was trying to make and I needed a stand-in for the visual effect. I substituted the you-know-what just because it was the right color. It was the best move of the day. You will love it.
1Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Put the bread in the bottom of the baking dish to make sure you have sliced enough to make two layers.
2Remove the bread from the dish. If the bread is fresh, lay slices on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes on each side, or until very lightly toasted. Let the slices cool.
3Spread one side of each slice of bread with Nutella. Cut or break large whole slices (not baguette slices) into 4 pieces each. Arrange the bread, Nutella side facing up, in the baking dish in one layer of overlapping pieces, with rounded crusts or trimmed angles showing attractively.
4In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and salt together. Gradually whisk in the milk and cream. Pour the egg mixture through a strainer into the baking dish. Cover the pudding with plastic wrap and press any floating bread pieces back into the egg mixture. Let stand for at least 15 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid.
5Preheat the oven to 325°F. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
6Uncover the pudding and place it in a baking pan large enough to hold it with a little space on all sides, and then into the oven. Pull the oven rack out and carefully pour enough boiling water into the large pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until a knife inserted into the pudding comes out free of custard (or with a little Nutella clinging to it), 50 to 55 minutes. Cool for at least 1 hour.
7Serve the pudding warm or at room temperature. Cold leftover pudding is divine, but you could also reheat it in the microwave on medium power for a few seconds.
This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.
Excerpted from PURE DESSERT (Artisan Books) Copyright 2007 by Alice Medrich Photographs copyright 2007 by Leigh Beisch.