This chocolate bread pudding is a recipe from my friend Chiara, and is a traditional recipe from her region in northern Italy. Made without eggs, it’s an easy way to make vegan bread pudding and tastes great. Think chocolate amaretti.
Chiara says: ‘There isn’t a fixed recipe for this cake: every nonna here has her own, and of course they all claim their version is the best. Another fun fact: this cake has a million names, depending on the baker’s location.’
The peasant origin of this recipe is the reason why it calls mostly for leftovers and pantry staples: stale bread, cookies (amaretti in the original version), raisins, pine nuts and cocoa powder, besides the milk needed to soak the base and make it creamy. The end result won’t be super sweet, because there’s no added sugar – almond milk, cookies and raisins will be just enough.
For some more simple chocolate recipes, try my double chocolate olive oil brownies, a healthier whole-grain chocolate snack cake, or no-bake chocolate puffed quinoa bars, sweetened with dates.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Cookies: the recipe calls for a crumbly vegan cookie to replace traditional amaretti. Use any simple cookie and choose amaretti if the pudding doesn’t need to be vegan.
- Add-ins: omit the raisins if preferred, and the pine nuts can be replaced with slivered almonds.
- Bread: a plain bread with a very light, airy crumb is best for this recipe, not something enriched. Think baguette, not babka.
Step by Step
1. Mix the bread: stir the pieces of bread with the almond milk to break down slightly.
2. Add the cocoa: mix in the cocoa and cookies, then stir again. Cover and rest.
3. Add the add-ins: stir in the pine nuts and raisins, mixing until you have a smooth batter.
4. Bake: transfer to a cake tin and bake for about an hour.
Traditionally, stale bread gets a good soak in whole milk, but the recipe has been tweaked to make it plant-based and uses almond milk instead. This is a win-win swap, because lightly sweet almond milk will be perfect not only to replace dairy milk, but to give the cake a unique and subtle flavour of amaretti as well.
The secret to achieve the perfect consistency is to let the bread and milk mixture sit as much as possible. Ideally, an overnight rest is best. You want the bread to fully dissolve into the milk, so that when you stir it, everything magically melts and produces a smooth batter.
How to Store
Storage: keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Freezing: freeze your bread pudding in an airtight container for up to three months.
- Use a small cake tin: You want to bake the cake rather tall and small, to avoid having a gummy and flat disc – about 5-6 cm tall at least, so be sure to use a smaller dish.
- Sweeten to taste: this isn’t a particularly sweet dessert, so if you have a sweet tooth, you might want to add some sugar to the batter.
More Almond Recipes
Honey Roasted Almonds
Almond Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies
Rhubarb Almond Cake
Almond Flour Brownies
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Italian Chocolate Bread Pudding
- 300 grams stale bread*
- 1 litre almond milk
- 100 grams crumbly cookies or amaretti
- 50 grams cocoa powder
- 70 grams raisins
- 40 grams pine nuts
- In a large bowl, add roughly chopped stale bread and cover with almond milk. Stir a few times until bread chunks start to break down. Add crushed cookies and cocoa powder. Stir a few more minutes and leave to rest in a cool place at least 2 hours, ideally overnight.300 grams stale bread*, 1 litre almond milk, 100 grams crumbly cookies, 50 grams cocoa powder
- Stir the mixture around until all the bread chunks are broken down and you’re left with a smooth, thick but still runny batter. Add in raisins and pine nuts, saving a handful of those for garnish.70 grams raisins, 40 grams pine nuts
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 20cm (8 inch) cake pan with parchment paper, pour the mixture in, and garnish with reserved pine nuts.
- Bake the cake for one hour. The cake will feel slightly squishy and underdone, but as long as the top is firm and dry you’re good to go. Let cool completely before removing from the pan and serve.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
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