Inspiration from the Langham Hotel Brunch

I have a confession to make: I don’t like warm desserts.

Warm apple pie, molten chocolate cake, fresh donuts. Those do not tempt me.

I know, I know, it’s weird. I’ve gotten comments like “how can you claim to be a dessert lover??” or “what if you put vanilla ice cream on top?” and “you’re crazy.”

But I can’t help it. I like my desserts served cold. I mean, I like apple pie and chocolate cake (donuts, not so much) – but I keep them in the fridge for a little bit and let them hang out there till they get to the temperature of my liking.

My preference for chilled dessert changed last weekend. And I have the Sunday Brunch at the Langham Hotel to thank for it. Let me back track a little bit…

I won a spot at the coveted Boston Brunchers January event and last Sunday, I joined 14 other lucky bloggers for a brunch feast. I’d like to think of myself as an expert buffet eater and I came prepared with a 5-step strategy: 1) scan the full buffet option first, 2) pick out the things I really, really like, 3) figure out which dishes are only available to that restaurant, or are specialties, 4) only eat a few bites of each dish, and 5) (maybe the most important) save room for dessert. With this in mind I scanned all the impressive offerings of the City Brunch. The Langham had everything from prime rib (something I really, really like) to the tons of desserts (more on that later) and the usual brunch options:

an omelette station

yogurt parfait with fresh berries

french toast

BACON. As if I even need to say it…

My top savory picks were actually non-brunch items, or what I would consider specialty dishes:

beef carpaccio with truffle oil

lobster mac and cheese

And as for dessert, oh I saved room all right. I wanted to try the things I truly wanted and uh, that turned out to be a lot:

What? It was the day after my birthday so I was still in a celebratory mood…

Do you see that big glob on the left? That, my friends, is what convinced me that I actually like warm desserts. In fact, I sort of became obsessed with one. That was the CHOCOLATE CROISSANT BREAD PUDDING. And caramel sauce. *sigh*

I loved it so much that I was still thinking of it hours after our meal. So I decided to make my own version at home. This was the first time I ever made bread pudding, so I researched some recipes online and decided on a version from Food and Wine magazine. I didn’t have any croissants nor challah which is what the original recipe called for, but I had half a loaf of soft buttery brioche so I used that as the base. The original recipe may be found here, but I only made half (and just divided everything by two). This is the recipe I followed:


5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
One half loaf brioche, cut into 1-inch cubes

(Instructions copied from Food and Wine)

Butter an 8-by-11-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. In a medium glass bowl, microwave the chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals until melted, stirring between intervals.

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over moderately high heat. In a large bowl, whisk the whole eggs and yolks with 1/4 cup of the sugar, the vanilla and salt. Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, then whisk in the melted chocolate.

Spread the [brioche] cubes in the prepared baking dish and pour the chocolate custard over the top. Press the [brioche] into the custard until evenly soaked, then let stand for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar over the bread pudding. Set the baking dish in a roasting pan and fill the pan halfway with hot water. Bake the bread pudding for 50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the dish from the water bath and let stand for 20 minutes.

chocolate brioche bread pudding

It was delicious! I brought it to work the next morning and received many complements from my (hungry) co-workers. It was very custard-y in the middle and a little dry on top (next time I will make sure each cube is coated in chocolate!) but it was rich and warm and chocolate-y and satisfied my craving for Cafe Fleuri’s version.

(And, it was really good the next day, eaten cold…heehee)

I’m so glad I was inspired by the Langham Brunch to try my hand at chocolate bread pudding! I will definitely make this again.

Special thanks to the Boston Brunchers crew and the nice folks at the Langham for the glorious brunch.

Do you like warm desserts? What’s your favorite?

Cafe Fleuri on Urbanspoon


23 Responses to “Inspiration from the Langham Hotel Brunch”

  1. #
    BLog is the New Black posted January 27, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Looks wonderful!!! I have never had brunch there, but I’ve heard awesome things.

  2. #
    Lauren at KeepItSweet posted January 27, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I LOVE bread pudding, and chocolate, yum!! Welcome to a whole new world of desserts:-)

  3. #
    Kristina @ life as kristina posted January 27, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Wow that looks so amazing-i’ll take the whole pan of french toast, please and thank you!

  4. #
    Elizabeth posted January 27, 2011 at 9:28 am

    That glob looks insane! It looks like a super gooey sticky bun but chocolate. Your own looks more bread puddingy. I have brioche right now, I should really do this.

  5. #
    Sarah @ Semi-Sweet posted January 27, 2011 at 9:32 am

    That stuff was SO good – and yours looks absolutely delicious as well! I’m always intimidated about trying knock-offs . . . good for you for having the guts to replicate!

  6. #
    Angela@RecipesFromMyMom posted January 27, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I made my mom’s chocolate bread pudding for the first time this year and found out how easy it is. Really hard to photograph, but who cares once you’ve tasted it. You photos are great. My favorite warm dessert is pie — does that count? I can’t stand to eat pie that hasn’t been warmed up.

  7. #
    Lara @ GoodCookDoris posted January 27, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Loved this post! I totally understand your love for cold desserts. I like my hot & cold desserts separately – I never ask for a la mode (always the ice cream on a separate plate). And I am not a huge chocolate eater but that bread pudding was out of this world. I will be trying your recipe this weekend!

  8. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted January 27, 2011 at 10:43 am

    You’re a genius! And I’m glad you’ve been lured to the dark side… of warm desserts, that is :)

  9. #
    jacki posted January 27, 2011 at 10:47 am

    omigod that bread pudding looks amazing! the carpaccio and lobster mac n’ cheese were two of my faves as well. so nice meeting you there! I’m still having flashbacks to that glorious afternoon. I’m going to have to get myself back there to try the other 38271928 items I was to full to take on the first time.

  10. #
    Michelle posted January 27, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I’m sorry to have missed this brunch. All of the re-caps look wonderful! I’m a huge fan of bread pudding and yours looks delightful.

  11. #
    Justin posted January 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Great job recreating such an awesome dessert.

  12. #
    Daisy posted January 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Bianca, I am so impressed! I didn’t dig into this dessert – what is wrong with me. Must try recreating now, thanks to you!

  13. #
    Remee {Eat.Live.Blog} posted January 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Awesome! I love that you remade this amazing dish, and I love that now I can too! It was great to spend your first brunch “as an adult” with you!

  14. #
    Megan posted January 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I normally don’t like bread pudding, but I tried a bit of Meghan’s at the brunch and surprisingly liked it. I think the croissant is what won me over. Love that you made this after being inspired at the brunch.

  15. #
    MelissaNibbles posted January 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    That looks like a very decadant brunch. Your recipe looks fabulous!

  16. #
    Lizzy posted January 27, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I love bread pudding. That looks like an amazing recipe. And happy birthday!

  17. #
    Alicia posted January 28, 2011 at 8:07 am

    That chocolate bread pudding looks divine!

  18. #
    Chef Bee posted January 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Good for you. So glad you enjoyed yourself and the dessert. Looks great.

    Plan B

  19. #
    Nicole @ Making Good Choices posted January 29, 2011 at 10:53 am

    All of that food is so temping. Your bread pudding looks so delicious. I’ve never even had bread pudding..I want to try yours!

  20. #
    Patty posted January 29, 2011 at 11:34 am

    The lobster mac and cheese and your dessert plate look amazing and uber yummy!!!

  21. #
    Heather posted January 30, 2011 at 2:01 am

    That looks so good! I love warm desserts, probably my preference to cold. My fav is a warm brownie ala mode. So I guess I like mine a little cold too!

  22. #
    Bizzy posted February 20, 2011 at 12:52 am

    That bread pudding sold itself as soon as I saw that plate. I was so glad you chose it share with us.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted February 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      Thanks! I had fun baking it. And it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser!

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