I’ve never been fond of the kind of bread pudding made with raisins, which includes most restaurant versions. Aside from not being a fan of raisins (except for golden or flame), I don’t care for the heaviness of most renditions I’ve sampled.
But somewhere along the way I came across a light-hearted version made with chocolate, and I believe it had some orange juice and maybe some Grand Marnier in it too. And it called for day-old egg bread, such as egg knot rolls or challah. That got me adding orange zest, or, in the case of the dish pictured, here, sugared small oranges I’d brought back from Italy and hoarded way too long. They were nearly hard as rocks, but I managed to chop them up, and added them to my egg/milk mixture before pouring over cubes of egg bread. I sprinkled on good quality semisweet chocolate chips, but chopped chocolate, if you want to take the trouble, is nicer looking, or at least a little less “kid-like.”
I sprinkled a little brown sugar on the top for crunch, plus I had only added a tablespoon or two to the egg mixture, since the chocolate and orange contained sugar already. I may have dotted it with a little butter, but don’t worry too much about that, figuring the egg bread that I use is rich, plus there is fat in the eggs, milk, and chocolate. (Egg Beaters and their ilk are a fine substitute if you wish, but you really should use whole milk, or the dish becomes too austere, at least for me).
I like this dish hot out of the oven, and reheated if leftover. I like the top crunchy and the interior moist and light, enough so that I don’t feel that sauce is necessary.