Chocolate Rum Raisin Bread Pudding with Spiced Rum Sauce

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Ten years ago, before we moved to Denmark, we lived in England. We moved there from Geneva with our children, a toddler and infant at the time. It was an exciting move, because we were leaving the francophone environment of Suisse Romande and immersing ourselves in the relief of all-things-English. While I’ve written about that experience on previous posts, this post is specifically about my discovery of English bread pudding.

After a brief rental experience outside of London, we moved to the West Sussex countryside where we bought a feng-shui challenged barn conversion on a long country lane with distant views to the Isle of Wight. Our nearest neighbors lived a half mile away. Goodness knows what we were thinking when we bought this lovely but incredibly remote property. It would have been an extremely isolating experience save for our nearest neighbors who kindly took us under their wing. We became good friends over many meals which we took turns preparing on our AGAs. (No self-respecting provincial UK home would be complete without an AGA.)

One of the first meals our neighbors prepared for us ended with a chocolate bread pudding. Never a fan, I was dubious at first, but with one bite I was hooked. Crunchy on top, squidgy in the middle and blanketed with double cream, this was dense, rich and fudgy – nothing like what I expected. Since then I have dabbled with iterations of this dessert, taking inspiration from my neighbor and Delia Smith (Britain’s Ina Garten), while tweaking with raisins, rum and cinnamon to suit my taste.

Chocolate Rum Raisin Bread Pudding with Spiced Rum Sauce
Serves 6

1/2 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dark rum, divided
1 – 10″ loaf French-style bread, crusts removed, sliced 1/2″ thick
6 oz. (180 g.) dark (70-72%) chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs

For the rum sauce:
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark rum
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine raisins and 2 tablespoons rum in a small bowl. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes. Lightly butter a 9″ square baking pan. Slice bread slices in half on the diagonal. Set aside.

Combine all the remaining pudding ingredients, except the eggs, in the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water.) Stir until the chocolate and butter melt and the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and gently stir to combine well.

Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add the chocolate to the eggs, mixing to combine well. Pour enough chocolate into the baking pan to leave a 1/4″coating on the bottom of the pan. SPrinkle half the raisins over the chocolate. Arrange half the bread slices over the raisins, lightly overlapping the slices in a scalloped pattern. Pour half the remaining chocolate over the bread. Sprinkle remaining raisins over chocolate. Top with remaining bread slices, overlapping. Pour remaining chocolate chocolate over the top of the pudding, thoroughly covering bread. Gently press bread down into chocolate. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours.

Remove pudding from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. PReheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Bake until the top is crunchy and the inside is very soft, 40-45 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve with Spiced Rum Sauce.

Spiced Rum Sauce
Makes about 2 cups.

2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark rum
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Stir cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cornstarch to cream, whisking constantly, and simmer until cream begins to thicken. Stir in sugar, rum and cinnamon. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.

Tea and Pudding

I miss the English language.

In 1999, we moved to London from Geneva due to a corporate relocation. After 9 years in Switzerland, this was a new development in our family saga. Among the mixed emotions, one standout was a relief to live again in an English speaking culture. We could move right in and mix with the locals! We could live anywhere, not dependent on an international community or school to settle in. If we didn’t want to pay a hugely-exorbitant property price in London, we could pay a moderately-exorbitant property price in the countryside. We could move to a charming provincial English village in the hills or downs, find a crumbling stone property or a creaky half-timbered cottage and fit right in. After all, we were fluent in the local language – we only missed a sturdy pair of wellies.

I should have known better. I had plenty of British expat friends back in Geneva. Perhaps I hadn’t paid attention, or perhaps in the expat world, you have your own expat culture and dialect; everyone ends up speaking affected versions of the international language of English, adapted and tweaked to mingle with the myriad mother tongues and language abilities encountered in an enormous international community.

Whatever the case, upon arrival in London and following a brief rental experience in Surrey, we moved to that aforementioned tiny provincial village where we purchased a rambling, L-shaped, feng-shui-challenged barn renovation near the south coast with distant views to the Isle of Wight. Suddenly, I found myself in the thick of all things English and thoroughly in the dark.

While I can write volumes about our bumbling and surprisingly foreign experience settling into U.K. life, I will remain on the topic of language. After all, that was one of the perks of this move for us, and the excuse we used to propel ourselves to a remote corner of Southeast England in our well-intentioned quest to live like a local.

So please reflect upon these images:

Here is a picture of Tea.                 And here is a picture of Tea.
May_08_tea_002_4 May_08_tea_006_3







Explanation: If your child is invited home by a classmate for Tea one day, rest assured your precious 4 year-old will not be served a scalding cup of Earl Grey.  Most likely, he will be supplied with an early supper served to children; beans on toast is a favorite.

Here is a picture of Pudding.         And here is a picture of Pudding.

Chocolate Mousse Brownies







Explanation: If you are invited to a neighbour’s home for dinner and asked to bring a pudding, don’t despair if you are unsure as to whether you can recreate your mother’s Butterscotch Pudding recipe from your childhood. Pudding is a synonym for dessert, so feel free to live on the wild side and whip up a cake or trifle.

Now you have an idea of the linguistic hurdles I faced.  However, with time, and in my eternal pursuit of going native and not blatantly sticking out like the Yankee that I am, I slowly caught on to the English language.  My vocabulary shifted.  I embraced words such as whilst and hence.  I quickly learnt to refer to the car boot and clothing articles such as knickers, jumpers, and trainers.  More importantly, I learnt to never, ever, compliment someone on their pants (blush) – for they are trousers.  My written word adjusted to include u’s and t’s (neighbour, favourite, learnt, burnt.) The letter “z” became “zed” and was often substituted with an “s” as in finalise and realise.  Ever, ever so civilised.

Years later, when we would move on from England to Denmark, and I was straddling the Danish and international communities, British-English remained the English language.  I miss it now and still use it in my writing.  Unfortunately, my very-American computer program is none too pleased, and my text is littered with red lines.