1 1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon butter, softened
3 eggs, beaten
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups half- and- half or whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*4 cups bread or croissant cubes (stale bread works best. See *note below if using fresh bread)
1/3 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or raisins
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
*Note on bread: If the bread is fresh spread the cubes out on a baking sheet. Put the pan in a 325 degree oven and toast for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until dry. If your bread is already dry or stale, skip this step.
- Generously butter a 7-by-3-inch round baking pan or soufflé dish (1.5 quart). If you plan to remove the pudding from the pan for an attractive presentation, cut out a round of parchment paper and place it in the bottom of the buttered dish.
- Place the bread cubes to a large bowl; add the dried cranberries and chopped chocolate and toss to combine. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, half-and-half, salt, and vanilla. Whisk until blended.
- Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and stir gently until the bread cubes are well-coated. Spoon the bread mixture into the prepared baking pan.
- Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into a 6-quart Instant Pot.
- Butter a 10 or 12-inch sheet of foil. Cover the pan of bread pudding tightly with the foil (buttered side-down). Place the pan in a baking sling or on the steaming rack. Carefully lower the pan and sling or rack into the pot.
- Lock the lid in place and set the steam vent to the sealing position. Choose the manual setting (or pressure cook button), high pressure, and set the time for 44 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
- Release the remaining pressure and remove the lid. Remove the bread pudding to a rack. Let the pudding stand for about 5 minutes. Remove the foil.
- If desired, when the bread pudding is cool enough to handle, run a knife around the side of the pan and carefully remove it to a serving plate. Alternatively, spoon the warm pudding into bowls.