Adapted from Gourmet, February 2005 on Epicurious.com
4 Tbl butter (1/2 stick), plus more for greasing the baking dish
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
8 oz + 2 oz bittersweet/semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbl sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
8 slices good quality white sandwich bread.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and very lightly toast, about 5-7 minutes per side, not allowing the bread to color. Remove from oven, cool, and slice into 1/2 inch cubes with a serrated knife. Reserve.
Meanwhile, butter the bottom and sides of a small casserole dish. Combine butter, cream, 8 oz chocolate, sugar, salt and vanilla in a medium sauce pot. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and sauce is smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, and add about a third of this mixture to the eggs, whisking to combine. Add the rest of the sauce to the eggs and whisk to combine. Allow to cool about ten minutes, then add the bread cubes and the last two ounces of chopped chocolate. Stir to combine completely. Allow to stand 15 minutes. Pour into the prepared baking dish. At this point, the pudding can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until needed (up to 1 day) or baked straight away.
Bake, uncovered, until set around the edges but still moist towards the center, about 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool for about five minutes before slicing and serving. Top with a generous scoop of banana ice cream. (Or any kind, really.)
SERVED AT THIS DINNER PARTY