I looked at a ton of recipes online, didn't see one that I liked, so I decided to make something up. This happens fairly often (unfortunately) and hence is why I started just blogging it so I could refer back later. This bread pudding will work with any kind of egg bread (challah, brioche, etc) and probably a white bread (cut off the crusts) but don't quote me on the white bread bit. I haven't tried it yet, so I can't verify.
I don't particularly care for dense bread pudding that sits like a rock on the plate. I also didn't want to add any butter to the custard (as apparently some people like) because the brioche was plenty rich enough! I did want a really creamy custard, so I used whole eggs and cut the milk with some heavy cream. Did I mention this was absolutely delicious?
Chocolate Almond Brioche Bread Pudding
12 oz brioche, cut in cubes
6 large eggs
3 c whole milk
1 c heavy cream
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 c semisweet chocolate (chips or chopped)
3/4 c sliced almonds
Oven - 350F
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together with the sugars until there are no more lumps. Slowly whisk in the milk and then the heavy cream. Add the extracts and mix until well blended. Add the bread cubes and let soak 20 mins, every so often stirring and pushing the cubes down so every piece is well-soaked in the custard.
At the end of 20 mins, add the chocolate and almonds and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Don't worry - it's supposed to look lumpy. Pour into a greased 9x13 or casserole of at least 3 quarts since the pudding will puff a little. I used an oval casserole that was smaller than a 9x13 but was 3 inches deep. Put into another baking pan that is slightly larger than your dish, either a roasting pan or deep baking sheet, and pour very hot or boiling water into the outer dish to make a water bath. Put the whole thing into a preheated 350F oven and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1hr for a 9x13, more for a deeper pudding. The top will be golden brown and puffed.