Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone is a busy man. In addition to returning as host to Top Chef Masters for the fourth season, Curtis will also headline Bravo TV's biggest show to date - a bold new culinary-adventure series Around the World in 80 Plates. He's also opening his first restaurant in Beverly Hills (212 South Beverly Drive, Beverly Hillls 90210) at the end of the year. And, on the personal side, Curtis married actress, Lindsay Price earlier this year in Spain. They are blissfully busy raising their son, Hudson!
Examiner: I understand you have partnered with Lindt for the "The Taste the Difference" program. Can you tell us a little bit about the program and why you partnered with Lindt?
Curtis: As a chef, quality ingredients and passion are key to giving my guests the best tasting dishes. I’m a self-confessed chocoholic and I’ve partnered with Lindt for the “Taste the Difference” program because of the craftsmanship and care they put into all of their products – it mirrors the attention to detail that I take with each dish I create. Lindt launched “Taste the Difference” to share the message that those extra touches have a huge impact on the tasting experience. Lindt wants everyone to understand – and taste – the difference for themselves.
Examiner: What is your favorite Lindt product?
Curtis: I’m a self-confessed chocoholic. I’m a big fan of Lindt EXCELLENCE A Touch of Sea Salt. This chocolate should come with a warning sign.
Examiner: What are some chocolate trends you are seeing? How are chefs using chocolate outside of just desserts?
Curtis: Chefs and cooks do use chocolate for dishes such as mole (a Mexican stew), and it can used in sauces for pork and venison but truthfully, I love just snapping off a piece from the block and eating it, making chocolate fondues, tortes, creams, cookies…you name it!
Examiner: What tips could you offer to readers to help infuse chocolate into their desserts and other dishes?
Curtis: The beauty of chocolate is that it goes with so many different things, whether it’s a raspberry dessert, pear crumble, ice cream, and the list goes on. My Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding is the perfect example. I really elevated a typical bread and butter pudding by adding in roughly broken up pieces of Lindt. It’s great to be able to play with classics and give them a new spin and update.
Examiner: What is your favorite chocolate dish to make?
Curtis: It’s like asking a musician what his/her favorite song is…. It’s so hard for me to decide. Is it the pot de crème with velvety consistency and rich chocolate flavor? Is it the chocolate mousse that is light and fluffy but is still rich and decadent? No, it’s actually the Chocolate Bread Pudding with Lindt EXCELLENCE 70% cocoa bars. Wow, I really love them all!
Chocolate Bread Pudding
Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus 20 minutes soaking time
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Make-Ahead: The bread can soak in the cream mixture up to 1 hour before baking, covered and refrigerated.
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pound day-old French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces Lindt EXCELLENCE 70% cocoa bars, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1. In a large bowl, whisk the cream, milk, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla together. Add the bread and gently stir to coat well. Set aside for about 20 minutes to allow the bread to soften and soak up some of the egg mixture.
2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 13×9×2-inch baking dish with the butter.
3. Fold the chopped Lindt EXCELLENCE 70% cocoa bars into the bread mixture. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the pudding puffs and is golden brown on top but still moist inside. Cool slightly before serving.