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.
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)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pour the caramel bourbon custard over the croissants and leave to steep for 10 minutes if the croissants are very stale.
- Sprinkle the light brown sugar over the top.
- 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