I grew up in New Orleans, and my brother was once the manager of Commander's Palace Restaurant (when Emeril Lagasse was chef, but that's another story). They made a dessert called bread pudding souffle with whiskey sauce that was, to me, the perfect bread pudding--satisfying as comfort food, but elegant, rich and beautiful. I wanted to use a different flavor profile, so I thought it would be interesting to use the flavors in tiramisu--rum, coffee and chocolate. New Orleans French bread is very light and fluffy with a thin crust. If you can get it, lucky you; if not Italian bread will work, but cut off the thickest parts of the crust. —drbabs
mascarpone cheese, room temperature
very hot water
instant espresso powder
loaf day old light French or Italian bread, heavy crusts removed, cut into cubes (about 5 cups)
Butter a 9 X 12 baking dish and preheat oven to 350.
Whisk together egg yolks, mascarpone, 1/2 cup sugar, and rum and cocoa powder. Dissolve espresso powder in hot water. Pour both over bread cubes and mix to combine well. Set aside.
In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites with pinch of salt. Add the other 1/2 cup sugar a little at a time, until meringue is shiny white and stiff peaks form. Gently fold meringue into bread mixture until thoroughly incorporated.
Put egg-bread mixture into baking dish, smooth top, and bake for 25-30 minutes. The top will be light brown and crusty and the center will be moist but not runny.
Bring heavy cream to boil, add coffee and cocoa powders, and whisk till blended, cooking for about 30 seconds, while being careful not to burn cream.
Add rum and sugar, whisk together, and set aside to cool slightly.
To serve, pour some of the cream sauce in a dish and top with a square of bread pudding. Grate chocolate over the top.