Croissant Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is one of those foods that harken a simpler era. It was a delicious dessert that even the masses could enjoy, hence its original name — “poor man’s pudding.” The first bread pudding evolved as a means of salvaging stale bread.

These days, there are a lot of versions out there, including this one that Noelle Carter of the Los Angeles Times recently shared in one of her interesting food stories that come to us via McClatchy Tribune Information Services.

Croissant Bread Pudding
SHORT DOUGH:
2¼ ounces (¼ stick plus ½ tablespoon) butter, at room temperature
½ cup plus 1½ tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (5.8 ounces) flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and salt over low speed until combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer running, add the egg, beating until fully incorporated. Gradually add the flour and continue to mix until it forms a sandy texture. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
CUSTARD BASE:
3 ounces (¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
3 eggs
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, heavy cream, milk and vanilla.
Pudding and assembly:
Short dough
Custard base
About 3 cups (4 ounces) chopped (½-inch dice) croissants, 3 to 4 croissants depending on size
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Whipped cream, chocolate sauce and/or fresh fruit, for garnish
Butter each of 6 ramekins. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut 12 short dough circles: On a floured board, roll out the short dough to a thickness of a scant one-fourth inch. Cut the dough into 4-inch circles (wide enough to cover the base of the ramekins). You will need a total of 12 circles; re-roll and cut the dough as needed. Line the bottom of each ramekin with 1 short dough circle.
Divide the chopped croissants among the ramekins, making a solid single layer of croissants. Ladle the custard evenly over the croissants. Top each ramekin with a short dough circle.
Place the puddings on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the custard is puffed and set, and the crust is firm and faintly colored, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly before unmolding.
Dust the puddings with powdered sugar. The puddings can be served with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and/or fresh fruit. Serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 513 calories, 10 grams protein, 59 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 27 grams fat (15 grams saturated), 198 milligrams cholesterol, 30 grams sugar, 239 milligrams sodium.

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