We had a wedding to go to this weekend for someone I have known for over 20 years. It was beautiful (outside, up on the mountain) and the weather was perfect and the storms held off until we were inside at the reception (it has been raining SO MUCH here…and it is storming again as I type this). I was so excited to go to the wedding and see people I grew up with but don’t see as often now. But to be honest I felt a little self conscious about it too because these are people who haven’t seen me pregnant, much less 7 months pregnant, and it’s just kind of weird to show up to something like that a completely different person.
So many people asked me how I was feeling and if I was doing better, which I thought was sweet. Although I also felt bad that I couldn’t honestly say I am 100% better, because I’m still having to take at least a bit of zofran every morning in order to keep breakfast down. It meant a lot to me that so many people asked though.
Back in January or February, during the months where I only remember that it was tax season and the Olympics were on and I felt like death, I made a list of food I wanted to eat once I felt better. And this bread pudding was right at the top. Gerrit’s mother made this for a family birthday celebration back in December, and it was the one thing I remember eating toward the end of December that I remember loving relative to everything else I was eating at the time. And when you’re not sick and don’t have the most ridiculous food aversions that I didn’t know could even exist, it is even better.
I’ve fully admitted in the past to not being the biggest bread pudding fan. It is one of Gerrit’s favorite desserts, but I’ve had trouble understanding the attraction. Perhaps I had never had the right one.
But this. This is the right one. This is a bread pudding with a perfect bread to custard to chocolate to buttery richness ratio. It is soft and creamy without being mushy. It has texture and bite and and the rich custard flavor you expect (but also with chocolate! and a caramel-y rum sauce!). And now that I’ve made bread pudding with croissants I’m not sure I could ever go back. We’re in dangerous territory now.
After making this pudding, I'm not sure why I would ever make bread pudding with a bread other than croissants again. The buttery layers of the croissants give this bread pudding a richness that can't be found in any other bread pudding. This is a rich rich dessert, so keep that in mind with your serving sizes.
- For the bread pudding:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 12 croissants (regular, not jumbo, size)
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- For the rum sauce:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons rum
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside.
- Begin with the bread pudding. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and mix with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until well blended. Add the cinnamon and vanilla and beat to combine.
- Slowly add the eggs, mixing at low speed. Then add the cream and milk and beat on low speed until well combined.
- Tear the croissants apart into bite sized pieces and place the pieces in the prepared baking dish. Add half of the chocolate chips and toss to combine. Spread everything out evenly, and then evenly sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips over the top.
- Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top of the croissants. Let soak for 8-10 minutes, pushing the croissant pieces down into it to make sure that each piece is soaked.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes so that the top becomes golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
- While the bread pudding is baking, or while it is cooling, make the rum sauce. Combine the butter and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Add the cream and rum and cook over medium heat until simmering slightly. Lower the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat.
- Serve the bread pudding warm with the rum sauce spooned over it.
bread pudding adapted from Michael Chiarello