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Chocolate and Raisin Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

Just in time for your holiday entertaining!  Enjoy this delicious recipe, courtesy of Holland America Line’s Chef Rudi.
INGREDIENTS

Whiskey Sauce:

1.5 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoons cold water
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons whiskey, such as Jack Daniels, Jameson, or Old Bushmills

Bread Pudding:

1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons whiskey (for soaking the raisins; optional)
1 pound loaf day-old Italian bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 large eggs
1 quart whole milk
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1.5 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

Whiskey Sauce:

1. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it boils. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and water; whisk this mixture into the boiling cream.

2. Return the cream to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring with a heat-proof rubber spatula, for 30 seconds, taking care not to let the mixture burn. Add the sugar and whiskey and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Immediately remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. (Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Rewarm before serving.)

Bread Pudding:

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan to make one. Combine the raisins and whiskey in a small bowl; let sit for at least 15 minutes.

2. Bring a large kettle of water to a boil. Drain the raisins and discard the liquid. Divide the bread, chocolate chips, and drained raisins among the muffin cups (or place in the baking pan).

3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Whisk to blend thoroughly.

4. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in each of the muffin cups (or in the baking pan) and place the pan in a large roasting pan.

5. Transfer the roasting pan to the oven and add enough boiling water to the large pan to reach halfway up the side of the muffin or making pan.

6. Bake the puddings for 30 to 40 minutes (45 minutes to one hour if you make one), or until puffed and just set.

7. Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and remove the muffin (or baking) pan inside it.

8. Let the bread pudding cool until warm and serve, unmolded, with the whiskey sauce or the whipped cream and vanilla ice cream (or serve the single bread pudding in the baking pan with the accompaniments).

From Holland America.