Beliefnet
From "Stop and Smell the Rosemary, Recipes and Traditions to Remember," published in cooperation with your Daily InBox newsletter.

INGREDIENTS FOR BRANDY CREAM:

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

INGREDIENTS FOR PUDDING:

  • 1 loaf brioche (12 inches), cut into 12 slices, or 6 to 8 croissants, halved
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 12 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
 
TO PREPARE:

Brandy Cream:
  Whisk egg yolks and sugar until well blended.  Bring cream and milk to a boil in a heavy saucepan over moderately high heat.  Whisk half of the hot cream into yolk mixture and then whisk yolks back into remaining hot cream in saucepan.  Whisk mixture over low heat until thick, but not boiling.  Remove from heat.  Stir in brandy and salt.  Strain Brandy Cream and chill overnight.

     Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Brush bread slices with melted butter and toast on both sides until golden brown.  Watch carefully so bottoms don't burn.  Melt chocolate in top of a double boiler.  Combine cream and milk in a separate saucepan, and heat until almost boiling.  Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl.  While whisking, slowly add hot cream mixture to egg yolk mixture.  Strain mixture into a separate bowl and skim off foam.  Slowly add strained mixture to melted chocolate, whisking constantly.  Stir in vanilla and salt.
     Arrange bread slices in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, overlapping rows.  Pour chocolate mixture over bread.  Cover dish with plastic wrap, placing 2 small plates on top to weight it down.  Press down every 10 minutes for 1 hour.  This will allow the bread to totally absorb the liquid.  (At this point, pudding can be refrigerated overnight, but bring it to room temperature before baking.)
     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove plastic wrap from baking dish and place in a hot water bath 1-1/2 inches deep (1/2 inch, or slightly more, from top of baking dish).  Bake 45 minutes, or until pudding looks glossy and liquid is absorbed.  Serve with Brandy Cream.

SERVES: 12

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