Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sweet Sundays

A few months ago Brian came home from one of his business trips and was raving about the bread pudding that he had at a Whole Foods store, so we looked up our local Whole Foods store, but were disappointed to learn that they do not carry that particular item :( Instead, we tried to recreate the same dish, and although we haven't got it yet, we still enjoy trying new Bread Pudding recipes and eating them too!

Sous Chef: Brian (most Sundays)

Recipe: Croissant Bread Pudding (from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook) & White Chocolate Cream Sauce (I think the sauce comes from Emeril)


3 extra-large whole eggs
8 extra-large egg yolks
5 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 croissants, preferably stale, sliced horizontally (see notes for moderation)
1 cup raisins (we used, yes you guessed it, peaches! ...we haven't tried peaches before and we thought it might be good...don't worry I will start including other desserts that don't use peaches!)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla. Set the custard mixture aside. I did this next part a bit different: (Slice the croissants in half horizontally. In a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish, distribute the bottoms of the sliced croissants, then add the raisins, then the tops of the croissants (brown side up), being sure the raisins are between the layers of croissants or they will burn while baking.)

I did it this way: Cut the croissants in one-inch cubes. In a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2-inch baking dish, layer peaches and then the croissant cubes.

Pour the custard over the croissants and allow to soak for 10 minutes, pressing down gently. (Because we used peaches we added a sprinkle of cinnamon on top) Place the pan in a larger one filled with 1-inch of hot water. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn't touch the pudding. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 to 45 more minutes or until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

White Chocolate Cream Sauce

1 T. cornstarch
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 T. water, cold
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped

Whisk cornstarch, almond extract & water together until smooth and set aside. Scald cream over medium heat. Add cornstarch mixture to hot cream, whisking constantly, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, whisking 30 seconds. Remove from heat, add sugar and white chocolate. (I also added about a 1/3 cup of the reserved peach juice, which made it a bit too sweet, so perhaps if I use the peach juice next time, I will reduce the sugar amount).

To create the water bath we put the bottom pan into the oven with a bit of water in the pan, so it could become hot while the oven preheated, then we continued like this...

In water bath...
In water bath with foil tent...

Just out of the oven...

However in hind sight, we would have done things a bit differently. We would have put the bottom pan in the hot oven cold without water, then put the bread pudding pan on top, then added the hot water (boiling on stove top first) into the bottom pan and then put the foil tent on top so we could actually secure the foil tent to the bottom pan without burning our fingers! :) Oven mitts would have been helpful too, but I can't find mine!!

Megan: "Mmmm..."
Zachary: "Awesome!"
Anna: one bite..."Yuck!!" (I'm now convinced she did not come from my womb!)
Amelia: "Good!"

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