Prepared in 25 minutes or less plus 30 minutes to bake.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Center oven rack in the middle.
Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Dust its interior with granulated sugar.
Cut into 2-inch pieces the bread and chop the dried fruit into bits. Pat dry the ginger and finely chop. Toss these ingredients together with your hands in the pan.
Bring to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat the milk, sugar and vanilla bean, stirring occasionally.
Remove the vanilla bean once the milk is boiling and the sugar has dissolved.
In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs. Slowly pour in the hot milk into the bowl as you continue to whisk the eggs.
With a spatula, stir in the chocolate pieces into the bowl until melted. Gently pour this mixture over the bread and fruit.
Bake the pudding for 30 – 35 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean from the pudding’s center.
Transfer pudding to a cooling rack and allow to rest until it is slightly warm. Serves 8.
Option: Replace stem ginger with candied orange peel.