June 08, 2008
Croissant Bread Pudding..
I started the guessing game and then got so caught up in other activities that I forgot to release the comments. I moderated it so no on could cheat. My better half who amuses himself reading the comments couldn't find any for the latest post and asked if I stopped the comments. That then reminded me that I still haven't published the rest of the post. Blogging has a way of making you talk to yourself. I could be driving or shopping and something would click ...bang..one part of my head would start formulating sentences for the next post.If only I could write in my mind and it would get translated to the computer...
As always the range of the guesses is amazing...let me see..who got it right?Bervin, Nabeela (hey, I need an invitation to your blog now), Indo, Afailingcook,Creating Humus, Ranji,Umm and Anon D. well, almost right, coz nobody guessed croissant bread pudding.:)
Seagull and Sajitha will understand why I like this recipe.. It does remind one of the famous "chattipathiri" a Malabar specialty dessert that has been my post drafts but not yet posted.
According ot the Joy OF Baking site which is a encyclopedia of baking recipes, "Bread Pudding is an old fashioned dessert that had humble beginnings in 13th century England. It was first known as a "poor man's pudding" as it was made from stale leftover bread that was just moistened in water, to which a little sugar, spices and other ingredients were added. Fast forward to today, and you will find that we still make our bread puddings with bread but the breads we use are often made especially for this pudding and the types are wide ranging; breads like brioche, challah, croissant, panettone, French, Italian and sometimes even raisin bread or scones."
Bread pudding is common in all cuisines in one local form or the other.
Malabaris have the Chattipathiri, which is rotis/chapathis/tortillas made of flour dipped in a mixture of egg, milk and sugar, layered with poppy seeds,eggs, butter,nuts and raisins and baked. Arabs have Umm Ali,made with layers of phyllo pastry and condensed milk...yum!! As for the story behind the unusual name.. Asha had regaled us with the story some time back.Then there is the Shahi Tukda which is fried bread soaked in a milk and sugar bath, probably a derivation of the Arab dessert.
Well, to cut my rambling short, this is one recipe that was enticing me ever since I saw Barefoot Contessa on Food TV carefully slicing old croissants and then gleefully dunking them in a rich bath of eggs and heavy cream and baking it. The 8+4 eggs and cream daunted me while the pudding haunted me till I saw 4 croissants still sitting on my counter top, too old to eaten as is though still good enough. So I searched for a lighter recipe. Guess what I found..a site dedicated to just Bread Puddings!
But this recipe from Joy Of Baking is what I finally used. I followed with only 2 variations..I like nuts so topped the whole thing with sliced almonds and since I used croissants instead of bread, I reduced the butter. You could add raisins too or even cranberries, dried fruit etc. So this is what I ended up with..a slice able cake like dessert, good cold with whipped cream or ice cream, or served warm as is.
4 large croissants or 6 small ones
4 cups whole milk or half and half(or 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 1 1/2 cup whole milk)
4 eggs beaten
3/4 cup of sugar (maybe a little more as per your taste)
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons of melted butter, cooled
Preheat oven to 350F.
1. Brush the melted butter all over the baking dish. Cut croissants into halves along the length and place into a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the croissants with the raisins and nuts. I opted out of the raisins as my family is not heavily into it.
2. Mix the egg yolks, sugar and butter together in a bowl. Then stir in the heavy cream or milk and vanilla essence.
3. Pour the custard over the croissants. Press down on the pieces until the croissants are soaked with the custard. Let the croissants rest for at least a couple of hours so that it is fully soaked. Pour the left over custard (if any) over the croissants and press down just before baking to make a more custard rich layer. Top the pudding with a layer of almond slices or any other nut that you prefer.
4. Place the baking dish pan in a larger one filled with 1-inch of hot water. Place both into the oven. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn't touch the pudding. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. The water bath makes the custard moister and bakes it evenly.
5. Bake the pudding for about 45 minutes until golden on top. If you insert a knife into it, it should come out clean, similar to when you bake a cake. Cool 10 minutes and serve warm or refrigerate and later serve cold with whipped cream or ice cream..