happy valentine's day everyone! i know not everyone loves this holiday, but i've always seen it as a time to tell everyone who means something to you that you love them. and while we tell them every day (or should...), i think it's nice to set aside a day to really recognize it. and eat chocolate and baked goods. so, without further adieu, i present:
this is the kind of dessert where you announce it to your guests and they do a double take. in their heads they're kind of like "damn. she did not say what i think she said. awwww hell no." and you smile slightly because awwww hell yes. you did.
i've never though much of bread pudding until i finally tried it a few years ago. i just thought it was another weird british thing (no offense brits, it's just that your cuisine can be a bit different at times. example: mincemeat pie. and yes - this is coming from someone who lives in a nation where we fry oreos, and coke and butter. but i digress). however, in one bite i was hooked - smooth, sweet, delicious. i loved it. and when i saw this recipe i thought - genius! instead of bread, use buttery croissants filled with chocolate. why didn't someone else think of this years ago?!
so, before we start on this recipe, two changes i will make the second time:
it calls for two plain croissants and two chocolate croissants. that was silly. just use four chocolate croissants.
secondly, after taking the foil off and letting it bake for 15 more minutes, i didn't quite get the sugary crust on top that i wanted. next time i'll mix a tablespoon or two of room temperature butter with a tablespoon or two of brown sugar and spread it on top with a spatula before putting it back in the oven. a sugary crust is guaranteed after that.
alright. let's do this!
so you'll need two each of plain and chocolate croissants (or just four chocolate ones), two eggs, one tablespoon of bourbon, 1 cup of half and half, 1/2 a cup of brown sugar, some kosher salt and 1/2 of a vanilla bean. however, instead of a vanilla bean i just used a teaspoon of vanilla extract. feel free to omit the bourbon, but as someone who usually just puts bourbon in her diet cokes, putting it into my dessert was, obviously, quite exciting.
cut up the croissants into 3/4 inch cubes and put in a large bowl while mixing the other ingredients in a medium bowl. the latter creates a slurry. a word that is quite wonderful to use in everyday conversation. (but it's no mirepoix).
after mixing the two together, you can put into five ramekins or an 8x8 square pan. clearly, if you're married you have ramekins. see, i have a theory. a stereotype, if you will. ramekins mean you're married. they are a clear sign that someone has "wifed you". i used an 8x8 pan, naturally.
the recipe isn't quite clear on this front, but you are supposed to put the ramekins in a 9x13 cake pan, fill halfway with hot water, cover the pan with foil, bake in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes. i wasn't sure if i needed to do it this way with the 8x8 pan, but i did. so into the water bath in the 9x13 pan it went. like i said before, after removing the foil i would have put some more butter and sugar on top before popping it back into the oven.
and then, serve with ice cream. this is a simple, painless recipe that takes about ten minutes to get into the oven (or less), but packs a lot of punch. and heck, it's just fun! chocolate croissant bread pudding? doesn't sound more decadent than that. if you try this one, let me know how it turns out for you.