Total time: 2 hours | Serves 10-12
I fell in love with bread pudding in the early 80’s. A friend of mine gave me a recipe for Cajun Bread Pudding from Gourmet magazine. I didn’t even know what it was, but thankfully, the recipe was easy to follow and I didn’t take any chances. It was delicious; made with french bread, raisins and bananas. The best part? Scotch hard sauce. I was hooked (on scotch and bread pudding.) Like most comfort food, bread pudding is nothing more than an inventive way to use leftovers. In this case, it’s stale bread. This recipe calls for croissants. Make sure to buy them a few days ahead so they have time to dry out (all the better to soak up the custard). I buy mine at least two days in advance and leave the container open so they get nice and dry (don’t let them completely dry out).
This recipe is based on Barefoot Contessa’s recipe. You can find it here. No offense to Ina, but I found the original too custardy for my taste. I like a dry pudding that I can drown in sauce. This also makes it easier to make in advance and keep longer. Just reheat and serve.
Preheat oven to 350. LeCake tip: Make sure you have a roasting or sheet pan large enough to hold the water AND the bread pudding pan BEFORE you put them in the oven.
Slice croissants lengthwise, then cut into 1-inch cubes.
This is a lot of eggs. Use extra large eggs and a large mixing bowl. Don’t get scared now …
- 3 whole eggs
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 5 cups of half and half
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
Whisk eggs and sugar well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Spread the croissant cubes in an 13 x 9 glass baking dish (or any other shape). Cover with half the custard and let it soak for 10 minutes or so. Press gently on the bread occasionally with your hands or a spatula. The cubes should get nice and soggy. Refrigerate the remaining custard.
To bake, place the pan in a larger one filled with one inch of hot water. Tent foil loosely around the larger pan so the pudding can steam. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about 45 minutes more (until custard is set and the pudding is puffy and golden.) A knife inserted in the middle of the pan should come out clean. LeCake tip: Err on the side of over- rather than undercooked. Runny custard is disgusting. You can always add more sauce when serving if it’s a little dry.
Heat the remaining custard in heavy sauce pan on medium heat until mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. You’re going for a sauce consistency, not pudding. It happens in a hurry, so stir constantly and watch out!
Cut or scoop the pudding into serving dishes and top with a generous amount of the sauce. Top with *drunken raisins or currents and sprinkle with cinnamon. Pass extra sauce around for extra yumminess.
*Boil 1 cup of raisins or currents in 3/4 cup of dark rum for 2 minutes. The amount of alcohol is minimal, but you may want to skip this step for minors.