I love savory bread puddings. Here, the carrots' sweetness is deepened by roasting them right along with the baking bacon. This is on the tender end of the bread pudding scale thanks to the croissants, which lend it an almost silken texture. Proportions are simple, so it is easy to increase or decrease the quantity: 1/2 croissant per person; 2 carrots, 1 slice of bacon, 1 egg per person; 3 times as many ounces of cream as number of eggs. Makes a heavenly side dish or perfect lunch served with a salad dressed with a good tart vinaigrette as the yang to the pudding's sweet-ish tones. - boulangere —boulangere
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is pure heaven! I love the roasted sweetness of the carrots with the saltiness of the bacon. Then in come the flavors of garlic, onion and fresh marjoram that give a very satisfying depth. Boulangere is so right when she describes the texture as silken. With the eggs, croissants, and cream, this is completely satisfying and sure to disappear when served with any meal. - ashley_samuel_pierson —ashleychasesdinner
carrots, 6 if they're large
slices really good thick-cut bacon, or more if you're so inclined
Peel carrots and cut on a pretty diagonal into 1/4" thick rounds. Blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain, but do not cool in icy water. Spread out on a half sheet pan lined with parchment. Leave room for the bacon, and lay out strips at one end of the carrots. Bake until bacon is nicely crisp and carrots begin to caramelize. Miraculously, both happen at the same time in about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool at room temperature. When bacon is cool enough to handle, roughly chop into 1/2" pieces. Roll the carrots around in the bacon drippings. Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.
While carrots and bacon are baking, melt butter in a skillet and sauté onions with a pinch of salt and the marjoram leaves until onions just begin to brown. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature.
When carrots, bacon, and the onion mixture have lost most of their heat, break eggs into a large mixing bowl. Whisk to break yolks. Add cream, salt, and pepper and whisk to blend. Split croissants in half through the middle, then cut into 1" cubes. Fold into cream mixture. Add onions, carrots, and bacon and fold together. The croissants are so tender that the mixture only needs to sit for about 15 minutes for them to soak up some of the lovely eggs and cream. They'll take on a beautiful, silky consistency when the custard is baked.
Fill a 2 quart saucepan halfway with hot water and bring to a boil.
Run a pastry brush over soft butter and brush the insides of 4 8 ounce ramekins. Fill ramekins to within 1/2" of tops. Set ramekins in a large baking pan.
Set baking pan in oven with the front edge hanging off the rack an inch or so. Carefully pour in boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Nudge baking pan the rest of the way into the oven. Bake until bread puddings are puffed, golden brown, and tops are springy to the touch, 30-35 minutes. Carefully remove baking pan from the oven and lift puddings from the hot water. I use a canning jar lifter for this. Serve immediately, of course!