Okay, I’m not going to lie.. this is indeed bread and butter pudding in dress-up clothes. And, I have to also be honest and say that, as a pudding, this has never been on my top 10 list of desserts… nowhere near in fact. But, my brother kept talking about his childhood memories of bread and butter pudding and so I’ve been keeping an eye out for a recipe. I didn’t want to go down the route of the old-fashioned buttered bread and raisin version, but wanted to find something a little more updated. Then, one of my favourite New Zealand magazines – Dish – (Aug/Sep 2014; Issue 55) put out a recipe for these croissant puddings (there’s your bread and butter right there) along with a delicious baked vanilla custard and raspberries. Now we’re talking!
I made a few small adaptations. I upped the recipe so that it served 6 rather than 4, increased the raspberries and orange zest a little (to heighten the flavour), and added the crunchy, sugared sliced almonds (I found this handy little recipe on Big Oven.com) as I had a feeling that the puddings would benefit from a texture contrast… and I was right! Perhaps because of the changes I made, the puddings took a lot longer to cook than the recipe – double the amount in fact! Having never made this before I wasn’t quite sure how set the custard should be – my verdict is that it shouldn’t be firmly set, or it might be a bit rubbery. I took the puddings out of the oven when the custards were only just set but still moist, and I think it was the right decision.
Since making them, I’ve read that these puddings are best made the day before and, having tried the dessert both on the same day and the day after, I can definitely agree that it is best the next day. It gave the puddings time for the flavours to develop – for instance, I couldn’t really taste the orange on the day I made it, while it was much more obvious the next day. In fact, next time I may even put in a couple of tablespoons of orange liqueur as well. If you do decide to make the puddings ahead of time, all you have to do to serve them is simply heat them up in the microwave for about 30-60 seconds so that they’re just warm, not hot. Sprinkle on some nuts, dust on a little icing sugar and pour over some cream. Yum! Now THAT’s what I’m talking about!
RASPBERRY & CUSTARD CROISSANT PUDDINGS
Serves 6 x 1-cup capacity ramekins
For the sugared sliced almonds 1 cup sliced almonds 2 Tbsp sugar 1 pinch cinnamon, if desired 1 pinch salt
For the puddings 6 croissants 2 cups frozen or fresh raspberries 4 large eggs 1.5 cups milk 1.5 cups heavy cream 1 tsp ground mixed spice 1 tsp pure vanilla extract Zest of 1-2 oranges (to taste), finely grated ½ cup caster sugar (superfine)
For the sugared sliced almonds: Place almond slices in a pan over medium-high heat. Keep shaking the pan while the nuts get heated through and start to toast lightly. Sprinkle sugar over the nuts and keep stirring them gently with a wooden spoon. Get the sugar distributed fairly quickly as it will soon start to melt and get sticky. As the sugar caramelizes it will coat the nuts as they continue toasting. Sprinkle in a light dusting of cinnamon if desired and add a pinch of salt to round out the flavors. When the nuts are starting to turn golden brown cut off the heat but continue gently stirring while they cool. They will finish toasting as they cool.
For the puddings: Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).
Rip the croissants into pieces and place loosely in the ramekins with the raspberries placed between and on top of the pieces of croissant* (see note below).
Whisk all the remaining ingredients in a bowl.
Put the ramekins on a lipped baking tray. Pour about a cup of the custard over the croissants in each ramekin, then spoon over any that remains in the bowl. Leave to soak for 15 minutes.
Bake for about 25-35 minutes (mine took about 45 minutes) or until puffed up and golden and the centres are just set, but still quite moist.
Serve with a sprinkling of the sugared almonds, a dusting of icing sugar and a little pouring cream.
Note: *Just be aware that some of the raspberries on top of the pudding might discolour a little during baking. I suggest that you layer the raspberries throughout the pudding and put as few as possible right on top. Then, once the puddings are baked and are still hot from the oven, add fresh raspberries on top.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting