Chocolate Berry Bread Pudding, Gluten Free

by Jenn on June 8, 2011

in Desserts,GF Substitutions,Gluten Free

Chocolate Berry Bread Pudding, Gluten Free

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s been almost exactly a year and a half since my husband and I embarked on this journey across the ocean with our 4 suitcases to come to Switzerland.  We came with no friends, no family, no knowledge of language or customs, or culture – and yet, in the past 18 months, we’ve adjusted to life here so much that after going “home” to the U.S. last month to see my sister get married, coming back to Switzerland felt like coming home too – in its own way.  I don’t think either of us would have ever expected that when we first moved here.

One of the main reasons why I think we’ve been able to become accustomed to our life here is because of the food we eat.  Switzerland (at least what I have seen so far) has several bountiful farmer’s markets that I really enjoy walking through and shopping in – though I may still be asking those selling the produce each week what the different foods are called en français – for example this past weekend I learned that peas are les petits pois, which sounds much nicer than just asking for a kilo of ça and pointing to the bin of peas which a confused but hopeful look on your face…  Around the stands of fresh produce I am comfortable and in my element – I can walk through a market and become inspired, just like I did when I lived in the U.S. – in fact, maybe even more so because the markets have such variety here.  And with access to fresh produce, eggs, meats and cheeses, I can cook *almost* whatever I want and transport myself in my mind through my taste buds  – whether it be back to the U.S. for memories Thanksgiving dinners with families, or romantic mountaintop fondue dinners with my husband in the Swiss Alps.

Cooking, the simple act of preparing ingredients to create a meal, is one of the single most important reasons why I think we have been able to make ourselves a home here.  If things feel a bit too unfamiliar, we at least know that tomatoes will still reduce to an amazing pasta sauce when slowly simmered for hours, poached eggs will still run in a golden river across roasted asparagus at breakfast time, and a cup of green tea will always put me in a calm meditative mood.  In the kitchen we can find the predictable and comfortable, in essence creating our feeling of home just by the aromas and flavors we create.

While we’ve certainly enjoyed many Swiss treats during our time here, I don’t think our cooking or eating habits have been fundamentally altered.  For the most part, I still cook like I always have – take a look in my fridge, see what we have, what needs to be used, and throw something together with flavor and see what happens.  And when I want to be daring or do something new, I have this whole wide community of people from all over the world to turn to online, to give me ideas and inspiration and advice.  We eat less meat because it’s a lot more expensive than in the U.S., and dairy is really cheap here so we probably eat more cheese and yogurt than we used to, but other than that our cooking has not really changed.

Sometimes we try to discuss where we will live next – will we return to the U.S.? Will we try to stay en Suisse? Look to France, Germany, elsewhere in Europe? Or maybe hop over another ocean or two to New Zealand or Australia?  Every time we have this discussion we end up reaching a different conclusion.  One day it’s wanting to return because we miss our families and friends so much, the next it’s we’re still young and we should go and see the world while we can.  And while it’s fun to marvel over all the exotic (to us) delicacies that we could enjoy if we say, moved to Italy, or any other new country for that matter, we both know it won’t be the food that dictates where we go – because as long as we can find fresh high quality ingredients, we can be creative. And if we can’t exactly reproduce our comfort foods, we can develop new ones.  No matter what, our kitchen will likely be the most defining aspect of our “home” – wherever that may end up being in the future.

Cappuccino Love

This whole discussion started because of a little early morning twitter club by some of us Plate to Page participants – we call ourselves the #coldcoffeeclubMona of WiseWordsSimone of Junglefrog Cooking, Jamie of Life’s A Feast, Astrid of Paulchen’s Food blog, , Ishay of Food and the Fabulous, myself and Ilva of Lucullian Delights.  A little discussion turned into a coordinated writing activity, so be sure to check out everyone else’s blogs for their perspectives – our official prompt –

Would you let your waistline determine where you live?

I think that’s one of the great beauties of cooking, is that it can be done anywhere and with virtually anything and still have one’s own signature and personality infused into it.  Cooking and love of food are part of those beauties of self that come from within – from all the memories we carry with us, and the events we see each day, incorporating into our food the very essence of ourselves.  How each of us cooks is a living history of our travels and experiences from life.  I see cooking as an act of expression where the ingredients are the paint colors, and the pots and pans the brushes and canvases we use.  If there are limited resources or unfamiliar ones because we are in a new place, it just means one gets to use the imagination more.  Either way, whichever locale we find ourselves arriving upon next, I’m sure our kitchen will be what makes our place “home” – where we can find familiar favorites or new tastes, but no matter what, always us, cooking with the same enthusiasm we do now.

And so today, I baked for you something familiar and comforting to remind us of home, but using some of my favorite fresh local fruits of the season at the moment – Swiss strawberries.  The season doesn’t last long and I am determined to eat fresh strawberries in any way I can while they are around – and it was worth waiting for the local ones, the flavor of the imported ones just doesn’t compare.  The markets have been brimming with berries in the past couple of weeks, and soon the stone fruits of peaches, apricots and plums will be marking the sure days of Summer to come.

Fresh fruits of summer

I used my favorite gluten free chocolate quick bread recipe, and let it dry out overnight before baking it into bread pudding the next day.  As my quick bread was already sweet, I didn’t see a need to add any sugar to the bread pudding mixture, just some on top to help make a nice crust while it baked.  This bread pudding is a bit unconventional in that there is a bottom layer of fruit – strawberries macerated in lime juice overnight to help bring out their natural juices and sweetness, and then the quick bread layered on top of that.  This also serves as my paperchef entry, a culinary competition to create dishes using a surprise set of ingredients – this month was chocolate, bread, berries, and lime :)


Chocolate Berry Bread Pudding

Prep time = 2 hours to make the quick bread and prep the strawberries
Total time = 2 hours, spread out over 2 days  


  • 1 loaf gluten free chocolate chestnut quick bread
  • 1 qt. strawberries (or a barquette), hulled & quartered
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups (just under 1/2 L) milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • butter for greasing pan
  • handful chocolate chips
  • a couple tbsp. brown sugar

Day 1
1. Cut the quick bread into 1″ cubes and lay out on a tray overnight to dry out some.  Add the strawberries to a sealable container and squeeze in the lime juice.  Seal the container, shake them strawberries around, and then let sit in the fridge overnight.
Day 2
2. Preheat the oven to 175 ºC (350º F).  In a small bowl whisk together eggs and milk.  Slice vanilla bean vertically and scrape beans into the bowl as well.
3. Grease a small baking pan (I think mine is about 6″ x 8″ x 3″) with butter, and layer the macerated strawberries on the bottom of the pan.  Layer the dried out quick bread cubes on top of the strawberries, and then pour the liquid ingredients over everything – it’s ok if the liquid doesn’t come all the way up to the surface of the bread, because it will soak it up as it bakes.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top in between the crevasses from the cubed bread, and then sprinkle the entire pan with brown sugar, which which caramelize and create a nice crust as it bakes.
4. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the egg/milk mixture has set in the bread.  The bottom will be a bit liquidy from the juices of the strawberries coming out, and you may see strawberry juice bubbling towards the top – this is a good thing as it means the bread is also absorbing strawberry goodness.  Once set, crank up the heat to 200º C (400 ºF) for about 5-10 minutes so that the top really forms a nice crust.
5. Remove from the oven, and serve immediately because it’s best hot.


Also submitted to – Gluten Free Wednesdays


Hallie @ Daily Bites June 8, 2011 at 1:16 am

Beautiful post, Jenn! It’s clear that you have a great attitude toward life and all it holds. So inspiring for the rest of us. :)

Jenn June 8, 2011 at 1:20 am

Aww thanks so much Hallie!

Lisa from Glutenfreecanteen June 8, 2011 at 1:18 am

What a great way to look at life. You certainly will have some wonderful stories down the line – The bread pudding looks lovely and I agree about the fruit – having spent springtime in Paris, I can honestly say that I would also grab every strawberry I could during that short season – they are fabulous and nothing here, even in CA, comes close. The photos are looking great!

Jenn June 8, 2011 at 1:22 am

Thanks Lisa – and yes, these strawberries are incredible! I could eat an entire quart a day haha :)

Móna Wise June 8, 2011 at 7:54 am

Gorgeous looking dessert Jenn. You should bag the job and take food photos all over the world.
Start in Irelamd!
Móna xx

Jenn June 8, 2011 at 8:01 am

ha thanks Móna!! Actually my husband and I have been looking to do a trip to Ireland while we’re already on the correct side of the ocean….will have to chat :)

Rosa June 8, 2011 at 7:59 am

A beautiful post with gorgeous pictures! This dessert is so scrumptious looking.



Jenn June 8, 2011 at 8:01 am

Thank you Rosa!

Simone June 8, 2011 at 8:41 am

I love all you guys who have moved and lived in other countries. I’ve only ever lived in holland but we try and make it up by traveling extensively. But I would love to live abroad for a while as it does give you another perspective on that country. Great post Jenn!

Jenn June 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Thanks Simone! And I would love to come visit Holland sometime, it seems like such a beautiful country….

thepickyeater June 8, 2011 at 9:01 am

jenn your posts are always inspiring and are something to learn from ! you have a great eye for all kitchenware :) love the cup with the bird on it…so exquisite :-) europe is definitely way better than the US….it has old warm charm

Jenn June 8, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Aww thanks! old world charm has its pros and cons too – for example everything is closed on sundays here, so if you aren’t so organized with your planning you may find yourself a bit hungry… but we learned that lesson quickly :)

Jeanne @ CookSister! June 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Oh Jenn – love this post! Can relate to what you say. We never thought we would be in England long enough to feel even vaguely at home here, and now we have been here for 11 years and own a house :o) It’s not as if I don’t miss home, but like you say – here is home too now. I think we are really lucky to have two countries that we feel at home in :) And wherever I go and whataver the shops/supermarkets stock, there is a little corner of my foreign kitchen that will be forever South Africa (apologies to Rupert Brooke!) . Love love love this pudding – total decadence! Gorgeous photos too…

Jenn June 9, 2011 at 8:23 am

Thanks so much Jeanne! I’m surprised really how fast we have adjusted – it has only been a year and a half…

Ishay June 9, 2011 at 1:39 am

Jenn, this is such an eloquent post. I could almost hear the chatter between you and your husb- shall we stay here/ I miss home/ goodness the berries are divine/ where shall we explore next/ I actually like it here. And a seriously comforting pud as an ode to home (wherever that may be- at least where the kitchen is for now). Loved working with you and your pics, my girl…adore that composition. The jug…can we do a trans-Atlanic prop swap? I’m coining that one, btw “prop-swap” 😉

Jenn June 9, 2011 at 8:58 am

Aww thanks Ishay – it’s certainly a fun and interesting conversation to have :) and ooh I’m intrigued about your “prop-swap’ idea!

Angie Halten June 9, 2011 at 1:54 am

Its great to hear when people are living their life to the fullest. Enjoy where you are, for however long you decide to stay. And keep taking pictures, you’ve got a great eye for it!

Jenn June 9, 2011 at 8:59 am


Lindsey@Lindselicious June 9, 2011 at 7:14 am

This sounds- amazing!! It looks so decadent. Great job!

Jenn June 9, 2011 at 9:00 am

Thank you!

InTolerantChef June 9, 2011 at 9:44 am

You should definitely come to Australia!

Jenn June 9, 2011 at 10:47 pm


Barbara | Creative Culinary June 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Lovely post Jenn and love to see that I’ve taught you something. Oh wait…you’re not REALLY my daughter…but we share that affinity for being inspired by what we have on hand; that’s a talent usually borne by cooking for many more years than you have!

You’ve got family in Denver if it’s ever a place you land.

Jenn June 9, 2011 at 11:10 pm

*big hug* ha you are so awesome in so many ways :) and the same to you if you ever come out to Suisse!

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 12, 2011 at 3:42 am

Jenn, this is a beautifully written post. I don’t really feel “home” anywhere – Paris is the closest – even here in Toronto, I feel like I am still visiting , 11 years later. I guess time flies when you are having fun, right? 😉 Wherever *you* go, I will enjoy reading about it, that’s for sure!

Jenn June 12, 2011 at 8:37 am

Thanks Mardi!

Sanjeeta kk June 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

Love this gorgeous looking pudding! Lovely clicks.

Jenn June 16, 2011 at 7:36 am

Thanks so much!

Nic June 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm

My mouth is watering – and you have a a wonderful way with words! Lovely, Jenn. Just lovely!

Jenn June 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Thanks !

Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris June 28, 2011 at 9:31 pm

How much beauty!!! unbelievable!!

Jenn June 29, 2011 at 12:02 am

Thank you Cristina!

marla January 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Girl, we do think alike! I have a similar recipe on the horizon! Beautiful post & what I would do to see Switzerland :)

Jenn January 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Thanks! Yeah I made this last summer and have loved it ever since, can’t wait til berries come back into season :)

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