Happy Holidays and a big thank you to all of you who cooked with me this week!
I am the hostess this week for our Barefoot Bloggers group. We cook with the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, enjoying every delicious morsel her foods provide for us. After much deliberation, I chose Ina's Croissant Bread Pudding. I chose it for three reasons. First, because I love bread pudding, second, it seemed a festive thing to make here in December, and third, since we are in the midst of the busiest season of the year, I knew it would not be too time consuming.
I made two additions to the recipe. I added about a teaspoon of cinnamon and about 1/2 cup of pecans, for the simple reason that I love cinnamon and pecans. If you are having guests over this month, don't hesitate to prepare and serve this. You cannot go wrong with this bread pudding. It is the yankee's favorite dessert and he complimented me not once, not twice, but after each bite.
He did say, however, that the pecans did not add anything to it.
You know bread pudding started I think as a way of salvaging stale bread. My family had it a lot as I was growing up so it is comfort food for me. We never had it at Christmas time however. Christmas brought fresh coconut cakes, red velvet cakes, pecan pies, mincemeat pies, and Italian Creme cakes. And let's not forget the fruitcake. Yes, I've heard all the fruitcake jokes, but I actually loved the ones my mother baked every year. They were chocked full of nuts and candied cherries. I think bread pudding will become my new Christmas tradition!
In keeping with my movie quotes this month, does anyone remember in what movie Christmas dinner is highlighted by the presentation of plum pudding, which Bob Cratchit proclaimed "the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage." If you guessed Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, of course you are right! While I cannot guarantee that this bread pudding will be the greatest achievement of your life, I can promise it will delight your tummy and bring a smile to your face. Enjoy!
Croissant Bread Pudding
1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All rights reserved
Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min
Serves: 8 to 10 servings
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
1 cup raisins
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. 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. Pour the custard over the croissants and allow to soak for 10 minutes, pressing down gently.
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.