Sheet Pan

Chocolate, Orange, Cranberry and Almond Croissant Bread Pudding

May 10, 2012
Author Notes

Flaky buttery croissants, almond paste, dark chocolate bits, chopped cherries and orange, toasted almonds, all bound with a brandy custard. While this is a very rich dessert (noooo, really?!) the tangy fruit really helps with the flavor balance. When it follows the clean bright flavors of an Asian dinner, this dessert decadence makes for a well balanced evening. —LE BEC FIN

  • Serves 8-12
  • 6 Almond Croissants (or plain )(20 ounces) cubed
  • 6-12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 72% preferred (Trader Joe's bar is excellent)
  • 1/2 cup Toasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup candied orange, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried tart cherries, chopped
  • 4-8 ounces almond paste, chopped
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, chopped
In This Recipe
  1. Cube croissants, spread out on sheet pan and air dry for a day, or toast lightly in 250 degree F oven ½- 1 hr..
  2. Spread croissant cubes evenly in a buttered or non stick sprayed 9 x 12” non-metallic baking dish. Distribute almonds - almond paste in the pan. Whisk egg yolks and eggs til combined, add liquids, sugar and salt. Pour over the dish, pushing down on the croissant mixture. Dot with butter. Cover and chill 1 -24 hours.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees, 40 minutes until lightly browned and custard is set. Cut and serve as is or napped with vanilla crème anglaise.
  4. Notes: Substitute for additions (nuts, fruit, chocolate, brandy) or milk for cream as you like.
  5. Note: This freezes well.

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I am always on the lookout for innovative recipes, which is why I am just ga-ga over my recently- discovered Food52 with its amazingly innovative and talented contributors. My particular eating passions are Japanese, Indian, Mexican; with Italian and French following close behind. Turkish/Arabic/Mediterranean cuisines are my latest culinary fascination. My desert island ABCs are actually 4 Cs: citrus, cumin, cilantro, and cardamom. I am also finally indulging in learning about food history; it gives me no end of delight to learn how and when globe artichokes came to the U.S., and how and when Jerusalem artichokes went from North America to Europe. And that the Americas enabled other cuisines to become glorious. I mean where would those countries be without: Corn, Tomatoes, Chiles,Peanuts, Dried Beans, Pecans, Jerusalem Artichokes??! While I am an omnivore, I am, perhaps more than anything, fascinated by the the world of carbohydrates, particularly the innovative diversity of uses for beans, lentils and grains in South Indian and other cuisines. Baking gives me much pleasure, and of all the things I wish would change in American food, it is that we would develop an appreciation for sweet foods that are not cloyingly sweet, and that contain more multigrains. (Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a country of great bakeries instead of the drek that we have in the U.S.?!) I am so excited by the level of sophistication that I see on Food52 and hope to contribute recipes that will inspire you like yours do me. I would like to ask a favor of all who do try a recipe of mine > Would you plse write me and tell me truthfully how it worked for you and/or how you think it would be better? I know many times we feel that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but. i really do want your honest feedback because it can only help me improve the recipe.Thanks so much.