Posted by: Erica Retrochef | April 20, 2015

Chocolate Bread Custard

I had originally promised Buzz some bread pudding for dessert.


That was based largely on a too-fast reading of the following recipe. While a traditional bread pudding calls for chunks of bread, this just … adds bread crumbs to a custard?


1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup White House Milk
1 cup water
1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend cocoa, sugar and salt; add water, stir until blended and bring to a boil. Add butter, evaporated milk, water and bread crumbs; heat. Pour over eggs and vanilla. Bake in buttered casserole, set in pan of hot water, in moderate oven, 375° F., for 45 minutes or until set. 4 servings.


This recipe looked complex, but it was pretty easy to pull together.


Boil the cocoa and sugar and water.


The cocoa powder very quickly blends in and becomes uniformly smooth chocolate.


Add bread crumbs and dairy and liquid and heat more.


Pour over the eggs and move it into the casserole dish.


Once baked, it looks quite a bit like a chocolate cake.


This was wonderfully chocolatey (largely a credit to good-flavored cocoa powder), but somehow ended up very rich. It’s not the sort of dessert you want an endless amount of, so the recipe realistically produces something more like 8 servings rather than 4. I’d certainly make this again, and probably top it with whipped cream or ice cream to help balance the flavors.

Oh, and I’ll just note for the record that this isn’t really custardy, more like a very eggy, semi-liquid cake. It’s sort of runny bread pudding. If that’s the consistency you want, go for it. If you want distinct chunks of bread, or you want something very smooth like pudding, look elsewhere.

The A&P advertisement comes from 1941, and was preserved on the internet by Classic Film on Flickr.


  1. I wonder if this would have turned out with a different texture without the Panko breadcrumbs, which tend to be extra-crispy and keep their shape and texture. Freshly crumbed bread would have made this an entirely different dish altogether, and the dry crumbs you find in most stores would have made a grainy flour… I will *SO* have to try this, one day I have a lot of bread crumbs lying around and nothing better to do.

    …or, I’ll swap that cup of breadcrumbs with FLOUR, and just make the brownies I wanted anyway…

  2. […] pretty tasty. I did do a little searching, and found another site that had made this exact recipe, Retro Recipe Attempts. You can read everything they had to say about it by clicking right […]

  3. Just wondering… When you put this in the oven in your Bain Marie (water bath) did you add HOT water to bring it up to half-way on the outside of the dish? This would make a HUGE difference in “done-ness” which it sounds like yours was not; ). Should be still just slightly wobbly in the centre, when you take it out of the oven… I’m also wondering about the Panko crumbs… The whole idea of a recipe like this was/ is to use up stale bread (I use the old bread crusts that no one ever seems to want to eat. I dry them thoroughly first in a paper bag, then just put them through the food processor to make fast and easy crumbs. As long as they’re dry, they’ll keep forever in a ziplock in the cupboard (and they’re FREE; )

    • The panko crumbs were just what I had on hand — our bread wasn’t close to being stale, and I didn’t feel like waiting a few days. The water bath was hot. It came out tasty 🙂

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