Thursday, March 3, 2011

Class 2 Homework ~ Croissant Bread Pudding ~

My coworker H has this amazing neighbor who owns a bakery/chocolate store.  This neighbor likes to leave leftover croissants on H's doorstep so they don't go to waste.  Free croissants!  But since one can only eat so many at once, they often go straight to the freezer.  When H told me about this wonderful phenomenon that occurred every so often, I half jokingly said that if she ever gave me some, I would make a croissant bread pudding for her.

Flakey on top, moist on the bottom.

A couple of months passed after our initial conversation and I almost forgot about it until one day, H appeared with a paper bag full of huge croissants! I immediately went home and baked them into a bread pudding since it was the perfect opportunity for me to do some "homework."

I ate one for dinner too, to taste.  Hey, I have to know what I'm baking with right?  It was still pretty flaky on the outside and with a couple minutes in the toaster oven, it was the perfect texture.  Very flavorful too.  Quite impressive for a bakery in Los Angeles.


I used my standard recipe.  Super easy but delicious and as always, I added some brandy.  The brandy is really what seals the deal on the deliciousness of this recipe.  But don't add more than the recipe calls for otherwise you will get a very alcoholic pudding, which is fine if you plan on serving it in place of a cocktail but as a dessert, not recommended.  Trust me.  I made another bread pudding shortly after this one and added extra brandy thinking more is better.  More is better when it comes to money.  And presents.  But not brandy in bread pudding!

Bread Pudding

1/2 loaf French bread or Challah, cubed (or in this case, an equivalent amount of croissants)
1 cup milk
2 cups cream
3 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
zest from 1/2 orange
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins soaked in 1/2 cup brandy
(if you don't like raisins, omit them but still add 1/4 cup brandy for flavor)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter a round or square baking dish.  Either 8" or 9" will work.  I suggest lining it with parchment too since raisins will stick to the bottom.  It's not as big of an issue if you aren't using raisins though.

2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, cream, sugar, cinnamon, zest, and vanilla extract.  Add cubed bread and stir to combine.  Note: you don't have to actually cube the bread with a knife.  You can just tear it into smallish pieces. 

3. Add raisins and brandy and stir to combine.  Let sit until the bread has soaked up the liquid mixture and become soggy.

4. Pour into the baking dish and place on the middle rack of the oven.  Bake until browned and set, about 1 hour.  Once cool, unmold the pudding and cut into squares.

I personally prefer it chilled but you can definitely eat it warm.  My style is to stick the cut pieces in the fridge and about 5-10 minutes before consumption, I pull a piece out and let it sit on the counter to warm up just a tad.  Best.  Ever.   

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