This recipe recalls for me the chocolate-and-bread sandwiches that sometimes were my lunch, and always a special treat. And it is another inventive way surplus is used in Umbrian cuisine, with leftover country-style bread serving as the foundation of an elegant layered dessert. Although it is soaked with chocolate sauce and buried in whipped cream, the bread doesn’t disintegrate. It serves as a pleasing textural contrast in every heavenly spoonful.
- 8 ounces Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate, Finely Chopped
- Pan of Water
- 8 Ounces Day Old Brioche or Challah Bread, Crusts Removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 Cup Hot Chocolate
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream, Chilled
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 Cup Wild Cherries, Drained
- 1/4 Cup Almonds, Sliced and Toasted
Put the chopped chocolate in a bowl set in a pan of hot (not boiling) water. When the chocolate begins to melt, stir until completely smooth. Keep it warm, over the water, off the heat.
Pour the hot chocolate and vanilla into a spouted measuring cup, mix well, and then stir in half the melted chocolate.
Pour the sauce all over the bread pieces, then flip them around to make sure all the surfaces are coated. Let the bread absorb the sauce for a few seconds.
Meanwhile, whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form, by hand or with an electric mixer.
TO ASSEMBLE THE PARFAIT:
Use half the pieces to make the bottom parfait layer in the six serving glasses, placing an equal amount of chocolate-y bread into each. Then add a dollop or two of whipped cream, a drizzle of melted chocolate, a couple of wild cherries, a spoonful of the drained cherry syrup. Repeat the layering sequence to fill the glass and you use it all up, ending with the cherry syrup.
Finish with a sprinkle of almonds to top each parfait. This dessert is best when served immediately while the melted chocolate is still warm and runny.