Dovetailing off the Chicken Enchiladas I made for the Sho-Yu holiday party we had (yes, still a few months behind here), I wanted to share the dessert I made for the potluck! I took advantage of hosting the party this year and picked a dessert that could be served hot out of the oven – bread pudding! And not just any bread pudding – croissant bread pudding. Sometimes I find bread pudding using bread (challah, brioche, etc.) can get a little too dense. And let’s be honest – if you’re going to have bread pudding, you might as well commit to the buttery, flaky goodness that croissants can bring to the table!
I’ve been a fan of Michael Chiarello for a few years now, after Kevin and I ate at his Italian restaurant in Yountville, Bottega Napa Valley, which is still arguably our favorite Italian meal (including the ones we had IN Italy!). I’ve also had the pleasure of dining at his tapas restaurant in San Francisco, Coqueta, where my favorite grilled octopus can be found. He spoke at an event I worked on at Coqueta, and my boss at the time knew I was a fan and insisted on getting me a photo with him.
After some research online for just the right recipe, I came across Michael Chiarello’s Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding recipe, and couldn’t wait to make it. I do admit that I made a few adjustments to it, skipping the raisins and bourbon as well as adding an extra 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 12 croissants
- 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped small (I use Guittard chocolate baking bars for best results)
- In a blender or stand mixer*, combine butter and sugar process until well blended. Add cinnamon, and vanilla, and pulse to combine. *The original recipe says to use a food processor, but it’s too much liquid for the food processor to handle.
- While the mixer is running, pour the beaten eggs into the mixture. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides. Add the heavy cream and pulse to combine.
- Lightly butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Break up the croissants into 1-inch pieces and layer in the pan. Scatter the bittersweet chocolate over the top, and gently mix to incorporate. Pour the egg mixture over the croissants; soak for 8 to 10 minutes. You will need to push croissants pieces down during this time to ensure even coverage by egg mixture.
- Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 10 minutes to brown the top. The croissant bread pudding is done when the custard is set, but still soft. Allow to cool. Serve with the ice cream of your choice! I used Alden’s Organic Salted Caramel Ice Cream.
I can’t wait for an excuse to make this again!