When my mother would serve this dessert, we would never say a word. We were too busy eating. I am not kidding, our big talkative family would be stone silent except a few yums and groins escaping our lips. I have had the same reaction to this recipe when I have made it. It is simply one of those winning recipes that you make over and over again. My brother likes to serve the bread pudding with coffee liqueur and whipped creme, but my mom always serves this with Creme Anglaise and that is the way I like it. —MyCommunalTable
Remove the crust and cube the bread. Reserve in a stainless steel bowl. Scrape out the insides of vanilla bean and add with the husk to milk in a saucepan. Scald the mixture and pour bread cubes in a bowl.
Whisk together the sugar and cocoa in another bowl and then whisk in the eggs until a chocolate paste is formed. Add the chocolate mixture to the bread and combine with a spatula until all signs of the white disappear.
Pour the mixture in a buttered casserole and bake in a water bath for 40-45 minutes at 350F.
When scooping out individual servings, top with Creme Anglaise. Served warm is my favorite.
Creme Anglaise, classic style
Set a large fine strainer over a medium bowl and place the bowl in a shallow pan of cold water.
In a large saucepan, combine half & half and vanilla bean over moderately low heat just until tiny bubbles appear around the rim, about 5 minutes.
In another medium bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar until just combined. Whisk in half of the hot half & half in a thin steady stream. Pour the mixture into the sauce pan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes. Immediately strain the sauce through the strainer in the bowl that is in the cold water bath to stop the cooking. Scrape the vanilla seeds in the mixture. Serve immediately, pouring over warm bread pudding.