Fall’s here — indulge in comfort foods | NevadaAppeal.com

Fall’s here — indulge in comfort foods

by Molly Gingold

Fall makes me think about comfort food. Something warm, maybe a little rich. HmmmE How about some Triple Chocolate Bread Pudding with a Caramel Semi-Freddo and Homemade Caramel Sauce. Sounds pretty dangerous doesn’t it? Let’s indulge!

I like to make bread pudding with croissants. They already have a fluffy flavorful texture that creates a perfect base for bread pudding. We will add a seasoned custard and three kinds of chocolate. I will finish the pudding with some great touches.

Triple Chocolate Bread Pudding with Caramel Semi-Freddo and Homemade Caramel Sauce

Serves 8 to 10

6 medium croissants, cut into 1-inch cubes

8 large eggs

1 1/4 cups half and half

3 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup sugar

4 ounces milk chocolate chips

4 ounces white chocolate chips

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 T. vanilla extract

1 T. cinnamon

Pinch kosher salt

Caramel Semi-Freddo and Homemade Caramel Sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss all chocolate chips with the croissant cubes in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk briskly eggs, half and half, cream, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until very well mixed. Pour the custard mixture over the croissants and chocolate chips and mix well. Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes; this will allow the croissants to absorb the seasoned custard.

Lightly grease an 8-inch-square cake pan. Press the croissant mixture evenly into the pan. Make sure it is tightly packed.

Cover the bread pudding with aluminum foil and place the dish in a larger roasting pan. Add enough hot water to come one inch up the sides of the dish. Bake until firm to the touch, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Serve warm with Caramel Semi-Freddo and Homemade Caramel Sauce.

Caramel Semi-Freddo

Makes 1 and one-half quarts

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup heavy cream

5 large eggs

10 large egg yolks

1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup prepared strong coffee

In a large bowl, whip the cream and vanilla until it holds peaks. Set aside.

Caramel: Place sugar and water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until it turns a golden brown color, about 5 minutes. Do not stir. Gently swirl to keep the color even. Slowly add the cream. Stir gently.

Place the eggs, egg yolks, salt and coffee over a hot water bath and whisk until warm. Add the caramel slowly and mix until smooth, thick and light in color. It should look like soft, whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into the bowl of a mixer with a whisk and whip on high speed until it comes to room temperature, about 6 minutes.

Fold in one quarter of the (caramel) egg mixture to the reserved whipping cream and all the whipped cream to the caramel egg mixture. Gently fold to combine. Pour into a six-cup freezer container and freeze for at least four hours. (Can be frozen for approximately four days ahead)

Homemade Caramel Sauce

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

Place the sugar, water and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook without stirring until the mixture begins to color. When the mixture is caramel colored, stir it lightly with a wooden spoon to even out the coloring. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until it turns medium to dark brown. It will start to bubble.

Carefully drizzle in the cream. Add it slowly and steadily, stirring constantly. When it is incorporated, take it off the heat and add the vanilla. Cool to room temperature.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Just before serving, gently reheat over low heat.

To assemble bread pudding

Portion out Triple Chocolate Bread Pudding. Top with a scoop of Caramel Semi-Freddo. Drizzle with Caramel Sauce. Dust with powdered sugar (optional).

To some, all of the “fuss” created by the Caramel Semi-Freddo might make this recipe seem too complicated. So leave it out! The Bread Pudding and Caramel Sauce are easy and quick. It’s your choice — complicated or not, this is a great dessert for this fall or winter.

Enjoy! If you didn’t want to make it, call or come see me at Molly’s Gourmet Catering and Takeout! We will make it for you — with a little notice.

Molly Gingell is the owner of Molly’s Gourmet Catering, takeout and cooking school at 220 W. John St. in Carson City.