Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Use a wide, hearty loaf of sandwich bread--a smaller loaf may not provide enough bread. Top with whipped cream just before serving.
Butter for greasing coffee cups
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar , plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for topping
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream , plus 3/4 cup for topping
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or coffee powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 - 5 slices firm white bread , cut into 1 1/2-inch squares (5 cups)
3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (4 ounces)
Cocoa powder for dusting tops
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 325 degrees. Butter four 1-cup, ovensafe coffee cups or ramekins.
2. Whisk eggs and 1/3 cup sugar together in large bowl. Whisk in milk, 1 cup heavy cream, instant espresso, and vanilla. Transfer custard to large measuring cup.
3. Arrange 4 bread squares in bottom of each coffee cup, overlapping pieces so they fit snugly. Sprinkle 1 heaping tablespoon chocolate on top of bread in each cup. Make second layer using 4 bread pieces, then top with remaining chocolate. Pour custard over bread and chocolate. Transfer coffee cups to rimmed baking sheet and set aside for 20 minutes.
4. Bake until puddings are set but still a bit wobbly when shaken, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes (we like to serve these warm) or to room temperature. (Puddings can be refrigerated overnight; bring to room temperature, then warm in microwave, checking progress every 30 seconds.)
5. With electric mixer, beat remaining 3/4 cup cream and 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar to soft peaks. Spoon whipped cream over each pudding. Sprinkle with cocoa and serve immediately.