Bread pudding so good it trumps chocolate
…and this statement coming from a self-avowed choco-holic!
I’m fairly new to the realm of bread pudding– my first taste was probably within the last 5 years, and since then the encounters have been few and far between. As a kid, the title just didn’t sound good to me. Once I figured out what it was– chunks of bread soaked in egg custard and baked– it still didn’t appeal. It seemed a waste to play a perfectly good dessert card on something that didn’t include chocolate. So bread pudding was left on the wayside for much of my life.
I can’t remember the first time I tasted it, but I know I liked it. Warm, gooey, usually topped with melting vanilla ice cream. Delicious. Even so, it couldn’t overtake such tempting offers as molten chocolate cake, raspberry swirl cheesecake, or key lime pie.
Last night, my allegiances may have been turned.
I’m currently working as a kitchen assistant for Sur la Table’s cooking classes. This means that I prep the recipes, set up the room, and help students during the class. Last night we held a private event and the menu the chef put together was meant to showcase the Pacific Northwest region. I’m not sure how exactly the Individual Croissant Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries, Chocolate, and Toasted Pecans was an example of Northwest cuisine (aside from the cherries perhaps?), but I don’t give a damn. All that I’m thankful for is that the quadrupled recipe we prepared left us with eight extra puddings for the employees to sample/scarf.
Needless to say this bread pudding was rich. Croissants? I mean, the eggs, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla aren’t enough, but then the usual bread gets nixed for pastries??? Enough said. No. I take that back.
Then we get to the other add-ins! Pecans and chopped bittersweet chocolate top the little ramekins of gooey goodness adding to the overt sweetness of the dish. The cherries seal the deal though by providing little explosions of tartness throughout.
I wish I had a picture for you, but I ate it too quickly… I guess you’ll have to try them for yourselves! I’m not sure where my boss got the recipe from, so please credit Sur la Table if you share this.
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- butter for greasing the ramekins
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 day-old croissants
- 4 Tbsp coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate (about 2 oz)
- 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 4 1-cup ovenproof ramekins.
- Add the heavy cream to a medium saucepan. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the back of a paring knife to scrape the seeds from the pod into the liquid, then add the pod. Simmer over low heat for 8-10 minutes, remove the vanilla bean.
- Combine the eggs yolks, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together. Slowly pour the cream mixture while whisking. (Be careful not to scramble the yolks!)
- Tear the croissants into bite-size pieces and add to the bowl with the cream along with the cherries. Stir to coat to croissants with the mixture and to distribute the cherries. Allow the croissants to absorb the liquid for about 10 minutes.
- Evenly divide the mixture between the prepared ramekins and sprinkle the top of each bowl with the chocolate and chopped pecans. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until set. Serve hot.