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Carnival's White Chocolate Bread Pudding
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Q. This summer on a Carnival cruise they served a White Chocolate Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce. This dessert was fantastic. The consistency reminded me of a bread pudding. I have searched everywhere for this recipe or a similar one. I want to serve this dessert at an upcoming dinner party. Any suggestions?

A. The folks at Carnival are not immune to flattery and have been very generous in sharing their recipes with our readers in the past. The recipe you're after — White Chocolate Bread Pudding — is no exception. We have scaled it down from 144 servings to 18, which is still not small. We hope our math is correct….

The sauce is a little more of a challenge. Carnival calls it a "sabayon" sauce, which its chefs flavor not with vanilla but with the almond-flavored liqueur amaretto. Most of the other ingredients are from a Carnival mix, so we'll have to come up with something else. A sabayon is originally an Italian invention, zabaglione, and is composed of whipped egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine. It usually sets up fairly firm and is served as a stand-alone dessert. The French, in changing the name, have also transformed it into more of a sauce, and often flavor it with sweet white wine or Madeira. We'll borrow someone else's recipe, change the liquid to amaretto, and hope it complements the pudding as well as it did on the high seas.

White Chocolate Bread Pudding
From Carnival Cruise Lines.

Ingredients:

5 large eggs
1/4 lb of butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 loaf white bread
1-1/4 lb white chocolate
3/4 cup sugar

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 360°F (182°C). Remove the crust from the bread and soak it in the heated milk and cream. Beat the mixture by hand or in a mixer until the pieces of bread are reduced to the size you want. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler and incorporate that into the bread mixture.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until creamy. Add that to the bread mixture and stir until uniform. Transfer the batter to a buttered pan and place that pan in a larger pan of hot water in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the center is set. [Start checking the pudding after a half hour in the oven. Because this recipe is cut down so severely from the original, it may take a good deal less time to set.]

Sweet Sabayon
From La Varenne Pratique (Canada, UK), by Anne Willan.

Ingredients:

4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup liquid (sweet white wine, Madeira, Marsala, sherry, Grand Marnier, orange or lemon juice [or amaretto])

Instructions:

Whisk ingredients in a large bowl, then set over a pan of hot water on the stove and whisk until light and thick enough to leave a ribbon trail, at least 5 minutes. (Note: If sabayon gets too hot it will become grainy.) Serve the sauce warm or whisk off the heat until it cools. If left to stand, the sauce will start to separate.

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Note: If salmonella is a concern where you live, substitute egg powder, pasteurized eggs, or other related products in all dishes that contain uncooked or undercooked eggs.

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