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Chocolate Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries and Brandied Cream Sauce



Six hours before starting this recipe, put the dried cherries in a small bowl and cover with the brandy.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and oil an 8-by-8 or comparable baking pan.
Split and scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and put both pods and seeds in a saucepan with the heavy cream.
Let them steep over a very low heat for about 10 minutes, then remove the vanilla bean.
Place the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a bowl and mix well.
Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the hot cream, then strain into a large bowl.
Pour about a third into the top of a double boiler.
Break the croissants into 4 pieces each and submerge them in the remaining cream and egg sauce in the mixing bowl.
Let soak for about 10 minutes so that the croissants can absorb the liquid.
Transfer the contents of the bowl to the baking pan.
Reserving the brandy, drain the cherries and dot the bread pudding with them.
Sprinkle the chocolate on top and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until set.
Meanwhile, add the reserved brandy to the remaining cream sauce in the double boiler and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Cook until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
Serve the warmed custard in a serving bowl and spoon over the bread pudding.