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White chocolate bread pudding is a hit

By By Robert St. John / food columnist
Aug. 13, 2003
Robert St. John is the executive chef/owner of the Purple Parrot Caf and Crescent City Grill in
Hattiesburg and Meridian, www.nsrg.com. If you have any
questions or comments, he can be reached at robert@nsrg.com, or at (601) 264-0672.
Key West might be the southernmost city in the United States, but Natchez is the most Southern city.
Never have I visited a city where more people were bending over backwards to be hospitable.
We didn't paint the town red, but we did leave white chocolate all over the place. Purple Parrot Caf chef Linda Nance and I served 350 portions of white chocolate bread pudding to hungry visitors attending the 2003 River Road Festival.
The following evening we had the good fortune to serve a Saturday evening dinner with Chef Regina Charbonneau of Twin Oaks and Chef Marty Cosgrove of K-Paul's restaurant in New Orleans. After dishing out fried green tomatoes topped with jumbo lump crabmeat, shitake mushrooms and Creole beurre rouge sauce in almost battlefield conditions, we served even more white chocolate bread pudding.
The most overheard phrase during our stay in Natchez: "Can we get you anything?" Thanks, Natchez.
With a best chef award tucked under our arm, we packed up our utensils and headed to Gulfport for Emeril's Bam on the Beach where we would serve another 700 portions of White Chocolate Bread Pudding to thousands of the superchef's groupies.
Emeril's Bam on the Beach was more like a rock concert than a cooking demo. We witnessed a chef at the top of his game and the height of his popularity give something back to the community in a big way.
The most overheard phrase of the evening "Bam!"
If we heard it once, we heard it a thousand times. I can't imagine how tiring it must be for Lagasse to get "Bammed!" to death everywhere he goes. People were yelling "Bam!" with his every step. He must hear it in his sleep and wake up in cold sweats cursing the day he uttered his first "Bam!"
Emeril has done some amazing things including raising a ton of money for the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport. Last year he made a commitment to raise $2 million for the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center's WINGS Performing Arts and Education Center.
Before the Bam on the Beach event, he had already raised $700,000. I would imagine he added at least another $250,000 towards his goal on this night. Maybe all of those "Bams!" are paying off after all.
These were truly battlefield conditions. We arrived with 700 portions of white chocolate bread pudding to re-heat without any electricity to re-heat them. In the nick of time, an electrician converted a junction box from 110-volt power to 220-volt power, changed an outlet and we were ready to go.
Once again, we painted the town white.
The things we learned on our 700-mile weekend journey across South Mississippi: Southern hospitality is not dead, Emeril is the biggest thing to ever hit the food industry and Mississippians just can't get enough white chocolate bread pudding.
White Chocolate Bread Pudding
5 ounces white chocolate
4 egg yolks
1 egg
1⁄4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
11⁄2 cup heavy whipping cream
1⁄2 cup milk
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Sourdough Bread as needed (crusts cut off, and cut into 1 inch cubes)
Melt white chocolate over a double boiler.
In another double boiler over moderate heat, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, whipping cream, milk and salt. When blended and warm, add melted chocolate. Place bread in buttered custard cups and pour white chocolate mixture over.
Allow mixture to settle and pour more over bread pushing bread that floats to the top down with a spoon. There should be just enough liquid to soak into bread without any excess.
Place cups in a shallow baking dish, and fill dish with water halfway up the sides of the cups. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Remove paper and cook an additional 15 minutes until the tops reach a light golden brown. Use a pairing knife to remove bread pudding from custard cups and serve on individual plates topped with White Chocolate sauce.
White Chocolate Bread Pudding can be held in the refrigerator for two or three days and reheated in the microwave until just warm. This recipe can also be made into a larger batch in a casserole dish instead of individual portions, scooped out with a spoon and placed into a serving bowl.
White Chocolate Sauce
8 ounces white chocolate
1⁄2 cup heavy whipping cream
Melt white chocolate in a double boiler, add heavy cream and blend thoroughly. This sauce will hold in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the microwave until just warm.

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