If you’re the type of person who, despite knowing that bread pudding has croissants and eggs in it, thinks that it is not a breakfast food, then we are likely kindred spirits. But if you’re also a person who when you encounter a recipe as exquisite as this, you reconsider your most basic values, we are also kindred spirits. Balance, right?
That’s what I strive for during the holidays–a mix of everyday healthier, more wholesome choices, speckled with pillowy soft bready-type sweets (my favourite kind), sparkly cocktails, and something with a salty crunch from time-to-time. (If you can’t indulge a little during times of celebration, then when can you?) This is truly one of the most luxurious desserts I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. And no bones about it, this is definitely a dessert. That doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t beautifully punctuate a savoury brunch or boldly take centre stage of an indulgent breakfast if given the chance. One of its redeeming qualities is that it’s really more of a mix and assemble recipe, which minimizes your time in the kitchen. And I read online that you can make and freeze bread pudding, so guess what I’ll be doing for Christmas dinner dessert?
This particular recipe is very slightly adapted from the Duchess Bake Shop cookbook whose brick and mortar made Buzzfeed’s list of best bakeries in the world in 2015. And if that isn’t praise enough, Penguin Random House described the book as “perfect balance of high-end French pastries and home baking”. After spending a week perusing its pages, I have to agree. Self-taught baker and Duchess head honcho, Giselle Courteau, demystifies the baking process around what are considered traditionally complex pastries and desserts (macarons, laminated doughs like croissants and danishes, pâte à choux, and brioche, among other things).
In 2018, I’m aiming to bake more, particularly honing my craft with things like chewy sourdough, hearty, belly-filling muffins, delicate pies and tarts (really anything with a buttery crust), and extraordinary cookies. The Duchess Bakeshop hits many of these notes with recipes like rosemary, chocolate, fleur de sel cookies, nectarine and wild blueberry pie, a recipe for easy mixer pie dough, and the London tea-time muffins, which include culinary lavender (and I bet would pair perfectly with a cup of Earl Grey). But I also have a specific goal of increasing my level of comfort with laminated dough and Giselle, with that same goal in mind, has a 27 photo tutorial on making croissants alone(!!). This might be the year of sourdough croissants, people! It’s a pretty special baking book. The best news today is that we’re having another giveaway and one of you will be getting your very own copy to elevate your baking in the coming year. There will be an Instagram post up later this week where you can enter. In the meantime, comment on this post with one thing you’d like to learn to bake in 2018 for a chance to win.
Wishing you lots of warmth and coziness over the holiday season. I’m looking forward to baking up a storm with you in the new year. xoPrint
From author Giselle Courteau, “This bread pudding is by far my biggest temptation when working at Duchess. It doesn’t have that eggy texture and sogginess so common to 0ther bread puddings. Instead, we’ve created one that is rich, sweet, and buttery. It’s all the more indulgent because we use day-old croissants rather than plain bread.” Ingredient modifications: I made this twice and used ¾ cup and ⅔ cup organic sugar and both times found it plenty sweet enough. I actually preferred the version with less sugar. I subbed in bourbon for brandy, used very large 6 day-old croissants (which I would guess amounted to between 8-10 cups when chopped), and used a chopped 70% dark chocolate bar instead of the chips. I also topped it with fresh raspberries and a dusting of icing sugar for the prettiness factor. Lastly, I forgot to butter the baking dish (both times–oops), but it didn’t affect my pudding. Giselle’s original recipe is listed below.
- 1¼ cups (250 g) sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (242 g) whole milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or paste brandy
- 2 tsp (I used bourbon)
- 1 cup (128 g) roughly chopped pecans
- 5 or 6 (about 5 cups) day-old croissants or pains au chocolat, cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
- 1/2 cup (80 g) milk or dark chocolate chips (I used chopped 70% dark chocolate)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 9×9” baking dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs.
- Add the milk, vanilla, brandy, and pecans and mix until well combined.
- Add the croissant chunks and chocolate and toss using your hands to make sure that all the pieces of croissant are well coated. Let soak for 15 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy.
If you make this Croissant Bread Pudding, let us know on Insta by tagging @baked_theblog + #bakedtheblog on Instagram.