Croissant Bread Pudding

Although this recipe has lots of steps the resulting pudding is delicate, light and drop dead gorgeous.

Croissant Bread Pudding, Crème Anglaise, Cinnamon Apple Chutney and Caramel Shards:

Croissant Bread Pudding at Beechwood Inn, though it has several steps, the effort is worth the final display.  Using croissants makes the bread pudding softer and more buttery in texture.Serves 8 amply.

Pudding

6 very fresh egg yolks

2 cups cream

½ cup sugar

¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 supple vanilla beans, split in two and the seeds scraped into the custard

Just a pinch of salt

4 regular size croissants cut into ½ inch cubes.

Place egg yolks and sugar in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  Whisk until light yellow and slightly thickened, about two minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Pour into a large container, add the croissant cubes and mix until evenly coated.  Let stand for an hour.

Fifteen minutes prior to baking, pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.  Stir the pudding mixture again and turn into an 8 x 8 buttered baking pan.  Make a bain-marie by placing the pan in a larger pan; add hot water to half way up the side of the baking pan.  Bake for about 60 – 70 minutes until lightly browned and just starting to come away from the edge of the pan. Remove the pudding from the water bath and cool on a wire rack.

Apple Chutney:

1 tablespoon of butter

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 tart apples, I prefer Granny Smith, peeled and cut into 3/8 inch dice

1/4 cup apple brandy

¼ cup water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 cinnamon sticks

In a heavy sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the apples and cook until tender and most of the juice has reduced.  De-glaze the pan with the brandy.  Add all other ingredients and let simmer for 30 minutes.  Keep warm.

 Crème Anglaise:

3 fresh egg yolks

1 cup of heavy (whipping) cream.

1 supple vanilla bean, split and scraped

1/3 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon grated orange zest

Just a pinch of salt

In a small saucepan scald the cream, vanilla bean and salt. Remove from heat.  In a mixing bowl, cream yolks and sugar until light yellow (mix-well), about 2 minutes.  In a small stream slowly add the scalded cream mixture slowly to temper the yolks, stirring constantly.  Stir until combined.  Prepare a double boiler and cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly.  When the mixture reaches 175 degrees or coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat, strain, cover and chill until needed.

Caramel Shards:

Place a Silpat (or parchment paper) in a rimmed sheet pan.  Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a small heavy sauce pan.  Heat on high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium high. Watch closely until it becomes a light amber color (about 15 minutes), and then remove from heat.  Let cool just a few moments until it starts to thicken. Using a long spoon drizzle the hot caramel onto the mat in long delicate strings, back and forth.  Don’t worry if it crosses and pools in some spots.  Make them slightly taller than wide and consider forming the bottom to place into the pudding. For Valentine’s Day we make hearts out of the shards. Let cool completely.  Reserve caramel shards until ready to plate.

Garnish:

Whip one cup whipped cream until firm, but not stiff, peaks form.

Assemble:

Place a scoop of chutney in the center of each plate.  Cut the pudding into 3×3 squares.  Place on the chutney and drizzle with cream Anglaise.  Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a fresh mint spring and then insert a caramel shard.

Croissant Bread Pudding at Beechwood Inn

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