Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

Last week the Masters golf tournament took Augusta by storm. By that I mean the entire city was consumed by golf mania, Bill Murray was in town, and there were tornadoes.

I baked every night from midnight-9am or so, and my sleep schedule was so messed up it was hard for me to do much of anything but bake and lie around pretending to read (but mostly staring out of the window and sighing occasionally.) Forget drawing, screen printing, hanging out or blogging- all that took way too much energy.

Eric and I got to check out the National golf course for a couple hours Tuesday evening. We felt like such impostors walking in the place (I don't even own a polo shirt). I expected-I don't know-the Emerald City of Oz, I guess. A green aura did exist everywhere I looked, from the pristine grass to the sophisticated "bleachers" and grown up "snack bars," but just looked like a golf course to me. With some very nice azalea bushes, I might add.
I felt sorry for all the hired labor scampering around picking up individual pine needles off the ground...the storm from the night before knocked not a few pine trees and azalea bushes around.

I was baking during the storm, and around 3am the power went out in the restaurant. I started screaming "NO NO NO NO NO NO! Come back! Please! NoooooooOOO...." I am very vocal when I bake, seeing as I am alone and all. I had a horrible vision of the kitchen staff walking in the kitchen and all the unbaked dough taking over the kitchen, with poor Mikaela's feet sticking out from under the mass like the Wicked Witch of the East.

Fortunately for me, the power came back 5 minutes later.

Every day I made about a million croissants for breakfast parties, and by the end of the week we had quite the surplus of old croissants. I cast a glance around the ol' internet, and found this recipe for chocolate croissant bread pudding on the Food Network site. Friends, I tell you: at least 7 people have told me, unsolicited, that this stuff is bliss on a fork. And not all of them what you might call "bread pudding people." I am definitely a bread pudding person, it's actually my newest obsession, so I'll share this recipe with you. It's super buttery and soft, like a croissant. With chocolate!

And in a later post, look forward to yet another BP recipe I made during golf week.

Get some.

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding adapted from Food Network site

Preheat to 350.
I made this recipe times 3 in a massive pan, you should use a 9"x13" baking pan.

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature.
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk or half and half
8-12 croissants, depending on the size (you'll want to fill the bottom of the pan with a layer of loosely placed 1-inch-croissant-pieces about 2 inches deep.)
1 cup bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped small.

I used croissants that were baked stuffed with chocolate, so I skipped the extra cup of chocolate.

In a large food processor or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and cinnamon. Add the butter and mix until well blended. While the mixer/processor is running, add the vanilla, and then the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each. Scrape down the bowl and, with the machine running, slowly pour in the heavy cream and milk. Scrape and blend well.

Butter the baking dish and scatter the 1-inch croissant pieces in the bottom, about 2 inches deep. Scatter the chopped chocolate over the croissants and mix gently. Pour the custard mixture over the the croissants and let sit for 10 minutes, pushing the croissants down into the custard occasionally. The custard should cover all the croissants with croissant islands poking up in the liquid.

Cover the bread pudding with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes. The bread pudding is done when it's puffed up and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool slightly and serve. It's also great reheated later.

Oh, and I pretty much ate only sugar the whole week, because I was surrounded by dessert all "day" long. And while that might sound like your dream diet, I felt lousy every time I ended a shift, and left swearing I wouldn't repeat the sugar binge again during the next shift. So this week I'm trying to avoid sugar and to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. It feels good.