Recipe: Leftover Croissant Pudding
A little something from my French kitchen today. Ever since I first saw a recipe for ‘Baked milk, croissant and vanilla pudding’ in the October issue of Waitrose Kitchen I’ve been working on perfecting my version of an English bread pudding, but made with leftover French croissants every time I visit Brittany.
My kitchen here is a lot more basic, but I like that it lends itself to a more basic form of cooking, with different fresh ingredients to choose from, and less store cupboard and equipment options. However, because I’m forced to think outside the box a little, and everything is stripped down, I enjoy cooking here a lot, and some of the recipes I’ve developed, for example the Hot King Prawns In Garlic Butter my Dad and I did together, and my Simple Potato Salad are among some of my favourites in my repertoire.
While I started with the recipe as was (but using regular milk instead of the buffalo milk the recipe was originally intended for), after a few trial and error bakes adding different ingredients and taking some away, I came up with my version which is quick, simple an mildly flavoured with cardamom instead of vanilla. The quantities here serve four people, but it can easily be doubled to feed a crowd.
Unsalted Butter, at room temperature3 Stale Croissants (day old at least)60g (2 oz) Mixed Dried Fruit (or just raisins or just sultanas, depending on preference and availability)2 Cardamom Pods250ml (1 cup) Whole Milk3 Large Egg Yolks (you can make meringues with the leftover whites!)50g (1.9 oz) Golden Caster (Granulated) SugarPreheat your oven to 150 degrees celsius (300 degrees fahrenheit). Grease the inside of an ovenproof dish with a good layer of unsalted butter. Slice the croissants into slices just a little bit wider than your thumb, and spread one cut side side of each of of these slices with a little butter.Layer half of the pieces in the bottom of your dish and sprinkle with the mixed dried fruit. Then use the rest of the pieces to fill in the gaps. You’ll want only one layer so that your custard will cover everything, but if you are doubling the recipe you can do this in two layers.Using the flat edge of a large knife flatten the cardamom pods so that they burst and let out their little black seeds. Add the pods, seeds and milk to a medium saucepan. Bring to gently to the boil. While the milk is heating up, whisk the sugar and egg yolks in a heatproof bowl (I swear by Pyrex bowls of all sizes in both kitchens) until smooth. Strain the boiled milk with a fine sieve to remove the cardamom, and add it a little bit by a little bit to the egg mixture, quickly whisking. If you only stir instead of whisk quickly, or you add too much hot milk to the eggs at once it will cook them.Once it is all incorporated pour the runny custard mixture over the croissants in the baking dish, making sure that every piece has been drenched. Boil a kettle and set the dish in another dish larger than it. Pour boiling water around this so all the custard bits are covered in a hot water bath within their dish, and bake the dish, with either the lid on or covered in foil, and its water bath in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until you can put a knife into the custard and you can tell it has set. Serve immediately either on its own (how I love it), or served with a little vanilla or cardamom ice cream. Enjoy!What are your favourite twists on modern classics, or favourite comforting nursery foods from childhood? I actually never used to like any form of bread pudding as a child, but as an adult I’ve developed a particular fondness for it.