In a small saucepan over medium-low heat heat kirsch or orange juice just to simmering; remove from heat. Add cherries or dried plums and let stand, covered, for 1 hour. Do not drain.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a very large mixing bowl toss bread with melted butter until coated. Divide bread cubes evenly between two 1 1/2-quart casseroles or place in one 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle half of the chocolate evenly over bread in casseroles or baking dish; reserve remaining half of chocolate. Spoon half of the fruit and liquid evenly over the chocolate layer; reserve remaining half of fruit and liquid. Top with remaining bread.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, half-and-half or light cream, sugar, and vanilla until combined. Slowly pour egg mixture evenly over the layers in the casseroles or baking dish. Press layers down lightly.
Bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 to 20 minutes more for the 1 1/2-quart casseroles or 30 minutes more for the baking dish or until egg portion in center appears set. Sprinkle remaining chocolate and fruit with liquid evenly over the top. Let stand about 1 hour. Serve warm.