White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce (Homemade!)

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Location: Homemade!
Name: White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce
Beer Pairing: Raftman by Unibroue

Sooo… I’m running super far behind on this blarg.  Which really doesn’t make sense, because it’s not like I’m overwhelmed with stuff to do otherwise. Unless you count hours of browsing Reddit and attending random events like a Lego Convention. Or hours of drinking (nursing a single) beer and performing surprisingly poorly at Thursday night trivia. Anyways, someday I will post in a more timely manner*.**

This post is another awesome example of people hearing about my interest in bread pudding and deciding to bake bread pudding for me out of the goodness of their heart. As with my previous post, I’m guessing on the exact recipe used, but I believe this recipe for White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce from Epicurious (also listed all the way at the bottom) is very close to what the baker (Sean’s sister Megan) made. I’m also using her wonderful photo, because mine was.. um… terrible.

While I’m a fan of a traditional bread pudding, I also really love a modern take on the dish.  The combination of white and dark chocolate in this version provides a wonderful, creamy base for the bread and custard, and melts right into the mixture while baking.  The result is a moist pudding oozing with chocolate and just the right amount of crisp on the edges. The addition of the Irish cream sauce when serving right out of the oven provides the perfect lightness and contrasting flavor to the chocolate.

So, yeah, I’m obsessed with chocolate and could eat this stuff all day long. In conclusion, I had a huge chunk of leftover bread pudding the next day for dinner and do NOT regret it at all.

This will never happen
** DO THE STARS GO BEFORE OR AFTER THE PUNCTUATION HELPPPPPP I’m too lazy to google this

 

Beer Review by Sean

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Oooo beer

Unibroue is one of my favorite breweries that specializes in Belgium-styled ales, such as Raftman, which is a Belgium pale ale that I had never had before. This beer was poured out of a 750ml corked bottle, into the proper tulip glass for this style. There is some debate on whether you should pour the bottom of the yeast into the beer that you drink – I decided to pour the yeast into this one. I am not sure if that was a good decision.

rater1

Douchey flavor wheel from Sean’s beer journal

When viewing the beer, it was very cloudy, with lots of visible carbonation. The color reminded me of light tanned leather and it had a strong, creamy head. It had an aroma of fruity esters, alcohol, and yeast. The alcohol smell caught me by surprise, because it is only listed at 5.5% ABV.  When I took my first sip, the high carbonation was the first thing that stuck me. Other than that, the beer seemed very bland. There was very little bitterness, not much malt, and it tasted very grassy. There was a faint banana flavor and, as Emily can attest to, I hate the taste of “gross fake banana.” Luckily, the banana flavors were not too strong (I even made a note that said ‘unoffensive’).

Overall, I was very disappointed by this beer. I hold Unibroue to a very high standard, and this just didn’t seem to reach it. It’s passable, and I would never say no to someone serving it, but I don’t think I would buy it again when there are so many other better offerings from this brewery.

Sean just really wanted this gif here

Recipe: White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water

Bread pudding

  • 14 cups 3/4-inch cubes French bread with crust (about 12 ounces)
  • 6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 ounces imported white chocolate, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Preparation

For sauce:
Bring cream, liqueur, sugar, and vanilla to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Mix cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water in small bowl to blend; whisk into cream mixture. Boil until sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Cool, then cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

For bread pudding:
Combine bread, chocolate, and white chocolate in large bowl; toss to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla in another large bowl to blend. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups cream and milk. Add cream mixture to bread mixture; stir to combine. Let stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Transfer bread mixture to prepared dish, spreading evenly. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup cream. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake pudding until edges are golden and custard is set in center, about 1 hour. Cool pudding slightly.

Drizzle bread pudding with sauce and serve warm.

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Homemade Apricot Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

buck-bread-pudding

 

Location: Homemade!
Name: Apricot Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Yum yum yummmmm!  I love when other people make food that I get to eat, requiring little to no work on my part.  Especially when the person who is making the food is my friend’s mother, who happens to be a very good baker.  In this case, she surprised a few friends with desserts made for those of us whose birthdays had recently passed, and mine was this tasty treat.*  I haven’t enjoyed a bread pudding with fruit since one of my first posts (one of my favorites from Gordon Biersch), and have been looking around for a dish like this for a while.

Although I am not sure of the exact recipe she used, I’d imagine it is very similar to this recipe from Epicurious, also listed below. One interesting detail about the dish is that the bread used as the base is croissant, which was a first for me. This allowed the texture to be very creamy and light, soaking up the custard but still retaining the airiness of the croissant. The crust was perfectly cooked, with just the slightest crunchiness and resistance.

In terms of taste, the flavor was light and tasted slightly of vanilla, but really brought out the eggs and original croissant flavor. The apricots added a slight tartness to the dish, and created a pleasant variety in the texture. This is definitely more of a summer bread pudding (if there exists such a thing), the perfect addition to a cookout or, say, a gathering of good friends on a nice June evening.

But the very best part?

CARAMEL SAUCE ALL DAY LONG

Mmmm caramel

The caramel sauce pulled it all together.  Definitely a 5-star dish in my opinion!

*The carrot cake and German chocolate cake were also extremely delicious

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Apricot Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Bon Appétit | January 2000
The Winchester Country Inn, Ashland, OR

Ingredients
1 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1/4 cup water
5 cups whipping cream
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
8 croissants, cubed (about 1 pound)
1 cup dried apricots, diced

Caramel Sauce

 

Preparation
Simmer Grand Marnier and 1/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan 5 minutes. Cool mixture completely. Whisk Grand Marnier-water mixture, cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg in large bowl to blend. Place croissant pieces in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish; add apricots and toss to combine. Pour custard over croissant-apricot mixture, pressing down gently with rubber spatula so that croissant and apricot pieces are evenly covered. Let stand 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Place dish in larger roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come 1 inch up sides of baking dish. Bake 1 hour.

Remove aluminum foil and continue baking until bread pudding is golden brown on top and firm to touch, about 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread pudding from oven and from water bath; cool slightly. Drizzle bread pudding with Caramel Sauce, if desired, and serve warm.

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Banana Bread Pudding (Diamond Market Bar and Grill, Pittsburgh, PA)

diamondmarketbreadpudding

Location: Diamond Market Bar & Grill (Pittsburgh, PA)
Name: Banana Bread Pudding
Beer Pairing: Blanche de Chambly – Unibroue

I was only in Pittsburgh for a short period of time, and wasn’t really paying attention to much except the fact that MY SISTER GOT MARRIED!!!  Also, there was a penguin. I don’t remember his name, but he was pretty chill.  HAHAA GET IT BECAUSE HE’S A PENGUIN.

The penguin eyes me suspiciously

The penguin eyes me suspiciously

However, I had to sneak in a quick bread pudding stop right before leaving this wonderful city.  Diamond Market was a casual restaurant located in the heart of Market Square, with a decent beer selection and relaxed ambiance.  After stuffing myself with delicious Pittsburgh food, I actually almost bowed out of the bread pudding.  Luckily, I had two others to share the dessert so between the three of us we convinced ourselves that it was a good idea.

Bread pudding is one of my favorite things.  Banana bread is one of my favorite things.  So, naturally, banana bread pudding is DEFINITELY one of my favorite things, especially if it is made with actual banana bread, which this was. The natural banana flavor hit me immediately upon first bite, along with cinnamon and brown sugar.  It was a wonderful taste, summery and light, but with enough body to remain a formidable dessert. The bourbon sauce was sugary and a bit tart, a perfect match to the sweetness of the pudding.

The texture was slightly spongy, but pleasantly soft and separated nicely with a fork.  If there was one flaw, it was that the top crust was slightly burnt and bitter, which could have easily been removed from the serving. Burnt crust aside, the portion was large and the whip cream was home-made. Overall, I enjoyed this bread pudding, almost as much as I enjoyed my time spent in Pittsburgh for a truly wonderful event.

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Taste new_stars - Copy (4)
Texture new_stars - Copy (3)
Presentation new_stars - Copy (5)
Overall Score new_stars - Copy (4)

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Beer Review

IMG_1461-570x855We paired this bread pudding with Blanche de Chambly by Unibroue (draft, not bottled as the picture suggests).  Beer is good.  This beer was good. Gah, I need Sean to write these. Remind me to bother him about this later.

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Créme Caramel

eknisely:

Doughnut bread pudding? count me in!

Originally posted on Sweaterchef:

I finally tried this place a few days ago and was able to sample the different créme caramel flavors.  Since custards are one of my favorite desserts I was pretty excited!  Truly one of this past week’s highlights.

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It happened to be National Doughnut Day when I visited, but regardless I saw the doughnut bread pudding and my mind was made up.  It had been heated in the oven for 15 minutes and was served hot.  I thought it was a great idea and enjoyed every last bite!

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View original

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Not as Good as it Looks: Bread Pudding with Raisins (Safeway)

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Location: Safeway Grocery Stores (presumably available across the country?)
Name: Bread Pudding with Raisins
Beer Pairing: Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss – Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Sometimes it is EXTREMELY trying to be the world’s premiere bread pudding reviewer.* One of the trials and tribulations of this job is never being able to pass up an opportunity to eat bread pudding. For instance, a normal person would see a single serving of bread pudding sitting on the bakery shelf at a Safeway, sold for $.99 and likely days old, and think, “Wow, that looks really unappetizing.”  But I do not have the luxury of being that person, because I MUST try it. I tried to convince myself that, hey, maybe it’s a diamond in the rough. It wasn’t.

In retrospect, I’m sure microwaving the bread pudding in order to eat it warm did not help the texture. However, I’m 100% sure that I didn’t RUIN it through the microwave process. I can only imagine that most other people won’t want it cold and don’t want to take the time to stick it in the oven. The texture was very spongy and lacked character, only broken up by a few raisins here and there.  The taste was very simple, with a bit of cinnamon and vanilla, but mostly just bread.  The only saving grace was the whipped cream that I added on the top, and even then, we didn’t finish the single serving that I purchased.

Overall, meh. I bet Wegmans has a better bread pudding.

* I have yet to meet another bread pudding reviewer, so I can only assume

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Taste new_stars - Copy (6)
Texture new_stars - Copy (6)
Presentation new_stars - Copy
Overall Score new_stars - Copy (6)

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Beer Tasting Notes

BerryWeissSean doesn’t want to write a beer review on Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss (Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company), which I think is fair because it just barely qualifies as a beer. Mike’s Hard Lemonade has finally found its match in the “candy for adults” beer division. This beer is quite sweet and very bubbly, with an almost cough-syrupy berry taste that turns off a lot of people. It is basically pop but with the slightest bit of tartness and malt at the end. At 4.7% ABV, this beer’s not going to do much for you and should be only enjoyed on the porch during the summer or in a similar situation. I actually really enjoy this beer on a hot day and am not bothered by the taste in the least, although I do find other fruit beers a bit better overall, such as a good blueberry ale or the Hell Or High Watermelon Wheat Beer, a favorite of Sean’s. We felt it was an adequate pairing with the Safeway bread pudding because 1) both are cheap, and 2) there was a very limited selection of beer in my fridge at the time.

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Rich Bread Pudding with Crisp Cinnamon-Sugar Topping (Homemade!)

KY Bread Pudding

Location: Homemade
Name: Rich Bread Pudding with Crisp Cinnamon-Sugar Topping (Cooks Illustrated The New Best Recipe Cookbook)
Beer Pairing: All the beer!

This is my first review of homemade bread pudding, and not-so-coincidentally my first 5 star review!  My wonderful and generous friend Katie, a fantastic baker, decided she would try to receive the first 5-star review.  (Be sure to check out her blog about science and life as a grad student here!)  I may or may not also be trying to get some brownie points (pun fully intended) that could benefit me in the much-discussed-but-probably-won’t-ever-happen chocolate chip cookie-off.*

Ed Helms

The recipe Katie used is from the Cooks Illustrated The Best New Recipe Cookbook and can be found online in PDF form here, also posted below. It is a simple recipe based on white bread, eggs, and cream.  I love the balance created between the texture of the submerged bread along with the egg. The pudding was soft and moist, yet not overly saturated as to become soggy. It was almost spongy in texture, and really emphasized that this is a pudding more than anything else. Served warm from the oven, it had a lovely crust with a cinnamon-sugar topping that complimented the flavor wonderfully.  I tasted the egg and the cinnamon immediately, followed by the hints of vanilla and butter.

Added shout-out to Brett’s butterscotch blondies, which were also delicious!

There is something that can’t be measured when eating homemade baked goods, surrounded by great friends and great beer. Giving this dish a 5 is the very least I can do to express my appreciation for all the delicious desserts and wonderful times I’ve had so far, and the good times to come.

Also – be sure to check back here for other homemade bread pudding recipes and re-posts of recipes I like from others.

Sean is kidding himself if he thinks he can beat me, since I’m pretty much the best ever at eating cookies, and I can only assume that translates into being the best ever at making cookies.

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Taste 5 stars
Texture 5 stars
Presentation 5 stars
Overall Score 5 stars

 

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Full Recipe

Rich Bread Pudding with Crisp Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

Source: Cooks Illustrated The New Best Recipe Cookbook
Serves 8-10

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Bread Pudding
4 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
¾ cup sugar
2 ½ cups whole milk
2 ½ cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
12 ounces (about ½ loaf) good-quality American-style white bread, sliced 3/8 inch thick and cut into 1 ½ inch cubes (about 8 cups)
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the baking dish

Directions:

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl
2. FOR THE PUDDING: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
3. Whisk the eggs, yolk, and sugar in a large bowl to blend well. Whisk in the milk, cream, bourbon, vanilla extract, nutmeg and salt. Stir in 6 cups of the bread cubes; mix thoroughly to moisten. Let stand 20 minutes.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Scatter the remaining 2 cups bread cubes on top, pushing them down gently to partially submerge. Brush the exposed bread with the melted butter and sprinkle with the topping. Bake until the pudding turns deep golden brown, is beginning to rise up the sides of the baking dish, and jiggles very slightly at the center when shaken, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool until set but still warm, about 45 minutes. Serve as is or with whipped cream.

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Mini Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding

eknisely:

Had to share this delicious bread pudding recipe – looking forward to making it myself!

Originally posted on Goodies & Yum x Immaculate Baking Co. ®:

I read fan comments all the time about how cinnamon rolls are their guilty pleasure. Some talk about how they wish we had smaller cinnamon rolls so their kids can finish one all on their own. Well, the truth is we don’t have any plans to make any mini cinnamon rolls anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t creative and fun ways to customize your favorite Immaculate goodie to a bite-size morsels! I give you the Mini Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding!

Mini Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding

Don’t let the picture deceive you. These really are mini. You could easily pop it in your mouth and be done with it in 2 bites. And honestly, making a basic bread pudding/egg custard is a lot easier than most people think. If I can pull it off, oh so can you! All you need are eggs, sugar and milk, and presto, you have pudding! Hopefully this helps…

View original 146 more words

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Banana Bread Pudding with Toffee Caramel Sauce (M.J. O’Connor’s Irish Pub)

MJOconnors

Sorry about crappy picture quality, everyone – I only had my cell phone on me at the time with some terrible lighting, and a Google search has failed to provide any better options!

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Location: M.J. O’Connor’s Irish Pub (425 Summer Street, Boston)
Name: Banana Bread Pudding with Toffee Caramel Sauce
Beer Pairing: Tramp Stamp (Clown Shoes)

This post does not include a beer review by Sean, since I (Emily) was in Boston for work when I went to MJ O’Connor’s. I mean… how was I supposed to NOT get bread pudding in Boston?*  This also means you get to suffer through my awful beer review, which will provide you little to no information about said beer.

MJ O’Connor’s Irish Pub is a little pub located off of a Weston near the South Boston waterfront. It gives off the air of being an authentic Boston Irish pub, but in reality it’s owned by a group that advertises several other “authentic” Irish pubs in the Boston area, so I’m not pretending that I found some amazing hole-in-the wall pub for locals. Regardless, the bread pudding was really, REALLY good. Like, traditional Irish pub bread pudding good. I thought about giving it a 5 star review, but I feel like there’s still a little room for wow factor that I haven’t seen yet. Aghh, why can’t I have a 4.75 stars graphic?**

This bread pudding had the major components I like with regards to texture – it has a crusty top but a moist yet solid structure below.  The flavor was incredible, starting with cinnamon and ending with the most subtle hint of banana (added by real banana in the pudding, not fake banana flavor), and everything was enhanced when the caramel toffee sauce was added.  As appropriate for bread pudding, neither the sauce nor the pudding were overwhelmingly sweet.

The dish more than stood on its own due to depth of flavor and the excellent texture.  If I had to provide one small criticism, it would be that the bread could have used a bit more saturation prior to baking, but this really was a fantastic dessert.

* Bostonites (Bostonians?) – don’t bother telling me about all the great pubs I should have gone to. I know there are many local options that would have blown my mind, but I was REALLY tired and this place was attached to the hotel where I was dropping off some equipment before collapsing. 

** The answer is because I am too lazy to create a 4.75 stars graphic

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Taste 5 stars
Texture 4.5 stars
Presentation 4.5 stars
Overall Score 4.5 stars

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“Beer Tasting Notes” by Emily

Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp S

I ordered the Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp because it was the only beer on the pub’s tap list that I hadn’t already enjoyed, and I was intrigued by the name.  It is an IPA, which isn’t my favorite, but I’m trying to learn to like them so that I can enjoy a broader variety of beer.  The beer had a thick, foamy head.  You’re supposed to comment on the head, right?  The body was a dark, opaque amber.

After douchily swirling the beer around in the glass (as douches are wont to do), the only smell I could detect with my amateur nose was hops.  So, there you go.  The initial taste was of course bitter, but I found the aftertaste to be much smoother and less offensive than similar IPAs. I have read that others have noted a citrus flavor to the beer, but I did not taste that myself.

In summary, I should have ordered the Chimay because I still can’t fully appreciate IPAs. However, the pairing worked out, because I like something a little bitter to enjoy with something sweet.

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Riley’s Bread Pudding (Dogfish Head Alehouse and Restaurant)

dogfishhead

Location: Dogfish Head Alehouse and Restaurant (multiple locations in NOVA area)
Name: Riley’s Bread Pudding
Beer Pairing: 120 Minute IPA (Dogfish Head Brewing Co.)

Ahh!  So far behind… I have a couple of reviews to post and SO MANY places on my list yet to try.  Sorry for the delay!

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I think it’s pretty clear that I will use pretty much any excuse to eat bread pudding. So when the local Dogfish Head restaurant (Fairfax version) put their relatively rare 120 Minute IPA on tap for one afternoon, I was all up on that shiz. Sean was already there hours earlier for company happy hour, so there was no additional convincing required.

I’ve had the bread pudding at Dogfish Head several times, and it holds a particular sentimental value to me, so I’d imagine I will eat it many times in the future. It’s a solid bread pudding, although certainly not the best I’ve had in recent months. The dish contains a hearty portion of bread pudding with two large scoops of ice cream, easily meant to serve two normal people or one extremely hungry Emily. On this occasion I was extremely hungry but kindly agreed to share.  See? I retained SOME skills from kindergarten.

The bread pudding is smothered in chocolate syrup and has chocolate chips throughout, so the taste isn’t the more traditional version you may expect from a brewery restaurant. The chocolate works well in this case, and the texture of the bread pudding was enhanced by the chocolate chips, creating a very tasty bite when you add in the ice cream.* However, I found a certain depth of flavor missing from the pudding, which could have been enhanced by a complimentary secondary ingredient, such as a traditional whiskey sauce or cinnamon. Or, like, a bunch of crushed up Girl Scout Samoas. That would have been awesome.

Overall, I enjoy this bread pudding way too much. Chocolate pretty much always makes me happy, and I have to account for the great food and great experiences I’ve had at Dogfish Head** in my rating. While I try to rate primarily based on taste, texture, and presentation, there’s something very special to me about Dogfish Head, and for that reason I’d likely take this bread pudding over another any day of the week.

*Even more tasty when you’re already tipsy on ~18% ABV beer
**Despite very sub-par sticker quality that won’t stick to my cello case :(

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Texture new_stars - Copy (4)
Presentation new_stars - Copy (5)
Overall Score new_stars - Copy (4)

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Beer Tasting Notes

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPAEmily: I enjoyed the 120 Minute IPA immensely, given that it was an IPA.  It went down *relatively* smooth and didn’t end on too bitter a note, and the amount of alcohol in it (15-20% ABV based on batch) required a slow sip and more appreciation of the flavor.  It paired well with the bread pudding and provided an excellent buzz for the price. Would definitely make a point to stop by DFH the next time they have this on tap again.

Sean: The 120 Minute IPA is one of my favorite beers around.  Its infrequent availability, especially on tap, makes it worth seeking out when available.  For some background information, the 120 Minute IPA is continuously hopped for, as you can guess, 120 minutes (as the 90 minute is hopped for 90  minutes, etc.) When you first learn that it is hopped for 120 minutes, it would be a safe assumption to think that it is excruciatingly bitter – this is not the case. Although this beer measures 120 IBUs, it is actually somewhat cloyingly sweet.   This is due to the ridiculous amount of residual sugars in the beer, required to support the outrageous amount of alcohol and hops. The beer smells of fruity esters with a noticeable alcohol punch in the back. The beer is served in a 12 oz. snifter, as opposed to a 16oz traditional pint glass.  There is noticeably no head, but as the beer is consumed, solid lacing is observed around the glass. In my opinion, the beer improves as it warms, which is a good thing because it is not a beer you can drink quickly. It is the perfect pairing for the Dogfish Head bread pudding, and I go out of my way to order this combination whenever possible.

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Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding (Matchbox)

Matchbox

Location: Matchbox (Chinatown in DC)
Name: Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding
Beer Pairing:
Emily: Rhino Chasers Pilsner (Lost Rhino Brewing Co.)
Sean: Porter (Founders Brewing Co.)

I’m going to try to make these shorter from now on and stick to the basics, because I really feel like I need to spend most of my free time playing 2048.  EDIT: I finally beat 2048, so now I’m slightly less interested.  When is 4096 coming out??!

Matchbox is not a place I expected to be eating bread pudding, since it is known for authentic wood-fired oven pizza. Sean and I were really just trying to find a place to drink some good beer after trouncing around DC all day watching people climb trees and trying to find Cherry Blossoms in bloom.  We were casually looking at the Matchbox website menu for beer selection when Sean uttered the words he will inevitably come to deeply regret:  “Hey, doesn’t that picture look like bread pudding?”

It did indeed.

The first thing I’ll say is that the pizza at this place is soooo good.  I had really high expectations for the bread pudding based on the overall quality of the establishment.  As with the BBQ place, I was completely stuffed when the bread pudding came.  I should really take a more scientific approach to this whole thing, but.. food!

I’m not exaggerating when I say that when they brought out the bread pudding, it was one of the greatest moments in my life.* I was convinced that this was going to be my first 5.0 review, because the 1) the thing looked epic (refer to picture), and 2) it contained chocolate, which is an easy way to get taste points from me.  The hearty dual-layer serving of bread pudding with chocolate chips throughout was topped with crème fraîche and sprig of fresh mint, surrounded by a light caramel whisky sauce and banana slices.   I know, right?!?  However, it didn’t quite live up to the exceptional presentation.

To be honest, I think this was a case of pure bad luck.  The top layer top layer was over-baked and under-soaked, fell apart into the original chunks of bread instead of forming a more unified pudding, and had a crust on top that was a bit hard to get through with a spoon.  The bottom layer, however, was quite moist and flavorful – clearly the intended outcome for both layers.  I honestly think that, on another day and another preparation, this dish could have the potential to be a 5.0.  The chocolate chips were melty and warm, the flavor of the pudding was subtle and refined, and the presentation was hands-down the best I’ve seen.

Overall?  This dish was pretty kick-ass with just a few flaws, but 100% worth ordering again.  I hope someday I get the chance to give it another go.

*Slight exaggeration

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Taste 4.5 stars
Texture new_stars - Copy (5)
Presentation 5 stars
Overall Score 4.5 stars

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Beer Tasting Notes

Coming soon!

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