The perfect dessert to serve a crowd…

The dilemma is common: you’re hosting family and friends this holiday season, and you want to be able to spend more time mingling and less time in the kitchen. The central key to conquering this quandary is cooking dishes that can be made ahead, re-heat well and are easy for guests to self-serve. Palace Cafe’s white chocolate bread pudding checks all of those boxes and the cherry on top (in this case chocolate sprinkles), is that its over the top decadence is not only perfectly acceptable during the holidays, it’s actually embraced!

White Chocolate Bread Pudding has been Palace Cafe’s signature dessert since opening in 1991. In fact, Palace Café has purchased more white chocolate than any other restaurant in the United States. Dickie Brennan and his cousins wanted to offer a bread pudding at their new restaurant because it’s a quintessential New Orleans dessert, but they also wanted the dessert menu to be all chocolate. White chocolate at the time was experiencing an uptick in popularity, so they experimented with using it in their bread pudding. The result was loved by the team and quickly became popular with guests. It has since been copied on menus throughout the city and country (by far the sincerest form of flattery).

At the restaurant, the dessert is cut in crisp, angular triangles and topped with white chocolate ganache, finished with dark chocolate sprinkles. For a crowd you can serve it by the spoonful from the pan it was baked in, with the ganache all ready covering the surface of the pudding and the sprinkles on the side as an optional accoutrement. This is the perfect one pan dish!

Ingredients:                                                                                    

6 C        Whipping cream
2 C         Milk
1 C         Sugar
20 oz.   White Chocolate (broken into small pieces)
4           Whole Eggs
15         Egg Yolks
24”         Loaf French bread (use stale bread)

For White Chocolate Sauce:

8 oz.      White Chocolate (broken into small pieces)
½ C       Whipping Cream
1 oz.       Dark Chocolate (grated for garnish)

TO PREPARE BREAD PUDDING: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, heat the whipping cream, milk, and sugar over medium heat. When hot, take off the heat and add the white chocolate pieces; stir until melted. Combine the whole eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl. Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the eggs in a steady stream, whipping the eggs as you pour. Place the stale sliced bread in the pan. Pour ½ the bread pudding mix over the bread. Use your fingers to press the mix into the bread so that it absorbs the liquid and becomes soggy. Pour in the remaining mix. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and continue to bake for ½ hour until it is set and golden brown.

TO PREPARE SAUCE: Bring the cream to a boil in a small sauce pan. Take off the heat and add white chocolate; stir until smooth and completely melted. Spoon over bread pudding.

TO SERVE: Serve the bread pudding warm, spooned right out of the pan with the sauce and chocolate sprinkles on top.