Chocolate Croissant Pudding

I spent past few days in Auroville, house sitting for a friend. She has a beautiful house right in the middle of the woods.  It was so relaxing to be there; we would get fresh croissants and breads in the morning from the bakery nearby and enjoy it on a concrete dining table located outside the house with various kinds of bugs and birds chirping in the background.

It’s a tropical climate here and these months the heat is at its peak. It gets a bit uncomfortable around mid-day and the sun becomes really harsh and strong. I did most of my cooking and photo-shooting in the mornings before the sun got so bright that it washed out all the color out of my dishes.

It was such a good change from our apartment living. Her house is spacious and airy. There are multiple dining and coffee tables and the natural light came through different sources….giving me so many textures and moods to explore for the photography. As a result I have more photographs for this post than I normally do.

This has to be the easiest dessert recipe – also, the best way to use up all the stale croissants and even breads. It is a very popular recipe; I made mine with chocolate croissants and paired them with cherries with a little sprinkle of crushed caramel.

You can serve it for breakfast on a Sunday or as dessert after meal. It requires minimum ingredients and very few steps. You can substitute cherries with any other fruit of your choice…as long as it’s not very tart or very juicy like oranges.

Bankim complained of “not enough chocolate in the dessert” – so if you also have a chocoholic partner, please add some chopped up good quality chocolate along with the cherries before baking.

You can skip the fruit altogether and flavor the custard with some kaluha and coffee and sprinkle the caramel before baking. It’s actually pretty versatile.

Serving about 4 people

Cooking time 40 min

Things you will need:

4 chocolate croissants, about 2 to 3 days old

1 cup fresh cherries, pitted

1 ½ cup whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup sugar + 2 tbs

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup crushed caramel (optional, see below)

Preheat the oven at 350F.

Sprinkle 2 tbs sugar over pitted cherries and keep aside.

Cut the croissants in desired shape, you can even tear them roughly. The ones I got from the bakery were in a rectangular shape and my baking dish was round – so cut them into ½ inch thickness and arranged it in a circular pattern.

In a deep sauce pan combine milk, cream and sugar and warm on low heat (stirring continuously) till the sugar is dissolved. You want the mixture to be just warm. Break three eggs in a separate bowl and whisk them lightly. Add into the milk cream mixture whisking continuously till it all becomes smooth custard.

Spread the cherries on the croissants; try to stuff/tuck them in between the croissants otherwise the cherries will get dehydrated while cooking in the oven. Pour the custard mixture over, pressing the croissants a little bit. Bake for 30 minutes. Take out from the oven and sprinkle some crushed caramel while the pudding is hot. Serve with hot coffee or hot chocolate.

For crushed caramel

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup water

In a saucepan add sugar and water and cook on low heat. Swirl the pan occasionally to mix the sugar. Let it cook till the sugar caramelizes. Pour on a metal plate or a bowl – it just needs to have a flat surface. Let cool, bring to room temperature. Put it in the freezer for about 15 min, it will become like hard candy. Transfer into a Ziploc bag and crush it with rolling pin.