Recipe: Caramel Croissant Pudding

Us folk from God’s Own County of Yorkshire love a bit of bread and butter pudding. It’s a staple Sunday lunch dessert services with (preferably) a good helping of double cream, or sometime custard. It’s a pudding that you can’t really improve on for using us stale, slightly past it’s best, but still perfectly edible bread. However, with 6 of us we rarely see such a thing as stale bread!

Some years ago now we were settled down one winters’ evening watching the delightful Nigella Lawson in one of her cooking programs. It’s hard to describe her shows, but to say she make food look like a soft porn version of Delia Smith would probably come close. She made a pudding starkingly similar to bread and butter pudding – except she went a bit continental and used stale croissants. She dispensed with the dried fruit (usually currents but I prefer sultanas) and replaced it with bourbon whisky (Jack Daniel, Jim Beam, Southern Comfort, or whatever the Lidl version is), and finally the custard within which you soak the bread (now croissants) is further enhanced with caramel.

The moment we saw this we knew we had to try it. By “we” of course it was I because I am the nominated chef of the household. so try it we did, and love it we did. It’s rich, sweet, smoky and absolutely blooming delicious. We have the same issue in our house as with bread when it comes to croissants – they don’t hang around long enough to go stale – so I often use fresh.

After sharing a photo of the latest batch of this indulgent delight I was asked by an Instagram follower from the US for the recipe – of course I obliged. I was both surprised and pleased to see the very next morning that I had been tagged in an Instagram photo and YouTube video of them making this pudding! So here I will recreate the recipe, and unashamedly copy Nigella’s recipe (there’s a link to the original at the bottom), and thank her for bringing this into our lives. The only addition I have to make is the of the light brown sugar sprinkled on the top prior to putting in the oven.

Ingredients
Serves: 2 greedy people (easy to upscale this for a family)

  • 2 stale croissants
  • 100 grams sugar (use light brown sugar for a deeper caramel colour)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 125 millilitres double cream
  • 125 millilitres full fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (or rum) [* I once made it with sherry – DON’T DO THAT!]
  • 2 large free range eggs (beaten)
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar (for sprinkling)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF.
  2. Tear the croissants into pieces and put in a small gratin dish; I use a cast iron oval one with a capacity of about 500ml / 2 cups for this.
  3. Put the sugar and water into a saucepan, and swirl around to help dissolve the sugar before putting the saucepan on the hob over a medium to high heat.
  4. Caramelize the sugar and water mixture by letting it bubble away, without stirring, until it all turns a deep amber colour; this will take 3-5 minutes. Keep looking but don’t be too timid.
  5. Turn heat down to low and add the cream – ignoring all spluttering – and, whisking away, the milk and bourbon. Any solid toffee that forms in the pan will dissolve easily if you keep whisking over low heat. Take off the heat and, still whisking, add the beaten eggs.
  6. Pour the caramel bourbon custard over the croissants and leave to steep for 10 minutes if the croissants are very stale.
  7. Sprinkle the light brown sugar over the top.
  8. Place in the oven for 20 minutes and prepare to swoon.

If you go ahead and make this please share it on Twitter and Instagram and tag me in @yorkshiredadof4 – thanks!


Original post from Nigella – https://www.nigella.com/recipes/caramel-croissant-pudding

Super Simple Fish Stew

The idea of a fish curry or a fish stew used make me feel repulsed, however in one particular lean period I was using up whatever we had in the fridge, freezer and cupboards to come up with a meal. This fish stew recipe is my refined version of that and I’m pleased to share it with you.

The ingredients list is not very long and made up almost exclusively of store cupboard essentials apart from the frozen fish. On the subject of frozen fish – this is a personal choice, we feel frozen is more cost effective for us but feel free to use fresh fish if you please.

I like to serve this with my sweet potato mash (see my other recipes) for a tasty and filling meal.

What you will need:

  • 1tbsp Coconut oil
  • 2 Large leeks, chopped into 0.5cm slices
  • 3 Star anise
  • 2tbsp Garam masala
  • 1tbsp Paprika
  • 2 Vegetable stock cubes
  • 2 Tins chopped tomatoes (+ 1 tin of cold water)
  • 650g Frozen code (or other white fish)
  • Ground black pepper

Here’s how you make it:

  • Heat the coconut oil and star anise in a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium to high heat for a couple of minutes
  • Add the chopped leeks and turn the heat down to a medium setting and cook until they have softened
  • Add the garam masala, paprika and stock cubes then stir well
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and water, stir well and bring to the boil
  • Add the fish and submerge in the sauce
  • Put a lid on the pan, and simmer for 30 minutes
  • Add the black pepper to taste

Nutty, seedy, fruit flapjack

For me flapjack is the ultimate energy food. Granted, if you look at the ingredients individually you could possibly cry at the calorific value. But, let’s face it, you’re never going to sit down to eat a 250g block of butter (although our dog once did) are you? Or eat 200g of soft brown sugar while watching Coronation Street? The fact is that it’s all about balance, and a slab of this flapjack would be great as a quick breakfast in a rush, or before a training run or ride (even great to take on a ride).

I tend to make it with whatever dried fruits we have to hand but my preferred mix is figs, dates and apricots but you can throw in any dried fruits that you fancy.

So here is what you’re going to need to make it:

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 200g soft, dark brown sugar
  • 4tbsp honey
  • 50g mixed seeds
  • 50g mixed nuts (crushed to your own preferred texture)
  • 100g mixed dried fruits (if using large fruits such as figs then cut to you preferred size)
  • 300g rolled oats

And here is the method to make it:

  • Line a 30cm x 20cm baking tin with baking paper (tip: lightly grease the tin with butter first and the paper will stick nicely and save frustration later).
  • Pre-heat the oven at 150oC
  • Melt the butter, sugar and honey together in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat. Once melted take off the heat and stir.
  • Add the seeds, nuts, fruit and oats and mix well until the mixture is combined and consistent (make sure to get right to the bottom of the pan).
  • Put the mixture into the pre-prepared tin and press it down with the back of a metal spoon. Make sure you press is firmly into the corners of the tin and get it as level as you can.
  • Bake in the oven for 40 minutes (bake for 45-50 if you like it really crunchy).
  • Remove it from the oven after baking and leave to cool on a wire rack before cutting into slabs sizes of your choice.

And there you have it, my deliciously yummy nutty, seedy fruity flapjack. Enjoy!

Honey & Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars

I post a lot of photos (via Instagram) on here showing my home baking exploits. I don’t profess to be an expert but I thought it was time I started sharing some of these recipes. So here’s the first one.

These bars are great for kids lunch boxes or a quick snack. Yes, they contains sugar, and as with most foods you eat them as part of a balanced diet.

Ingredients

100g cups Rice Krispies
170g honey
125 g peanut butter (ideally crunchy with no added sugar)
100g milk chocolate (optional)

50g sultana or raisins (optional)

½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Method

1) Line a 8×8 inch backing tin with grease-proof paper (*tip: grease the tin first then the paper stick in nicely)
2) Heat the honey and peanut butter in a pan over a moderate heat until they have combined and slightly bubbling
3) Stir in the Rice Krispies. Be gentle and you really don’t want to pound them into a dust! If using the dried fruit add that now and continue to mix.
4) Once the Rice Krispies (and dried fruit if using) have combined with the honey and peanut butter mixture transfer them to the pre-prepared baking tin. Using a spatula, gently press the mixture into the corners and firm it down.
5) If topping with chocolate melt this in a microwave proof bowl for 90 seconds and spread over the top of the firms down mixture in the tin.
6) Allow the tine to cool for 15 minutes then transfer to the fridge for around an hour before removing from the tray and slicing. This method produces 12 good sized bars.

Organic cooking of a different kind

So we’ve just eaten a fish stew I hastily put together using various frozen vegetables, frozen fish, a tin of chopped tomatoes and some herbs.

It was absolutely delicious, amazing and beautiful. Helen could eat it again and loved it. That’s the problem. My cooking method is one that avoids recipes and you could say I make it up as I go along – in a sense is an organic process.

I somehow have to repeat this…