My family loves bread puddings of all kinds. Using the croissants adds tenderness while the pecans and toffee bits add crunch. An extra egg makes the custard taste rich. I make it in the Fall and for Thanksgiving, and my family loves it. —Leith Devine
Cut up croissants into bite sized pieces, 1-2 inches. If the croissant pieces are too small, the pudding will be mushy.
Whisk together pumpkin pie mix, evaporated milk and eggs. Add additional pumpkin pie spice if desired. Place flour in a small bag and shake the pecans and toffee bits in the flour. This will help suspend them in the pudding instead of having them falling to the bottom. Add the floured pecans and toffee bits to the custard.
Thoroughly butter a baking dish or bundt pan. I like the bundt pan when serving the pudding for holidays.
Place the croissant pieces into the pan and pour the custard mixture over them. Press down if necessary to ensure all croissants are covered. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until custard has absorbed, 2 hours or overnight if desired.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a water bath deep enough so the water comes halfway up your pan. To make a water bath, put water in a larger pan than the one you're using to cook with and place in the oven. The water bath will ensure that the custard is smooth and silky.
Place pan in the water bath until the bread pudding is cooked through and no longer liquid in the center. Use a cake tester or butter knife that comes out clean to test doneness.
Depending on the pan, cook time should be between 45 minutes and 1 hour.
Remove from oven and cool pan on a wire rack. If using a bundt pan, wait until pan has cooled, then loosen edges gently with a knife. Place a serving plate on top and flip cake out onto plate.
To add the final touches, drizzle caramel sauce over pudding and sprinkle with additional pecans. Sprinkle lightly with finishing salt.