I made this pudding with jam instead of chocolate and Col and I both agree that we prefer the jam version.
One of the biggest food revelations I’ve had in the last few years is discovering frozen croissants. I didn’t know they existed until a shop assistant told me about them because the supermarket had run out of fresh ones. She said that her family loved them and preferred them to ready baked croissants. I love this woman for showing me the light! A freshly baked croissant is a wonderful thing and I’ve since found many different kinds of frozen pastries in Tesco, Sainsburys, M&S and Waitrose. They take about 20 minutes to bake and all the varieties are delicious but
M&S's and Waitrose’s croissants are the best by some way; they puff up to gargantuan proportions in the oven and are incredibly light and buttery*.
Having said all that, I still buy ready made croissants because although they lack that freshly baked taste and light as air texture, I know that if I leave a few to go stale then I can make this lovely pudding. Technically I could use frozen croissants but I’m 99% sure I would eat them before they had a chance to go stale and I think the drier texture of the ready baked ones is better for this dessert. I grew up eating bread and butter pudding and this is basically a fancy version with chocolate instead of raisins.
When talking about croissant based desserts I have to mention the ultimate recipe, Caramel Croissant Pudding, by Nigella of course, where she advises not bothering to eat anything beforehand except maybe a small crunchy salad. It involves a lot of sugar and cream. I’ve made it once and it was amazing but the slightly less decadent recipe I use is by Tom Hunt from The Guardian’s Waste Not section. It’s simple, rich and custardy and if you have some chocolate chips or a spoonful of jam to dot around the pudding before baking then don’t hesitate.
Cream or ice cream is perfect with this warm pudding but I mostly eat it plain. You don’t have to add alcohol but if you enjoy booze in food then bourbon, rum or brandy will add an extra, delicious layer to the flavours.
*M&S recently changed their frozen croissant recipe - they no longer rise as much and they're saltier - a little too salty even for a savoury-toothed person like myself.
I use one croissant per person and if my eggs are small I sometimes add an extra one. If I’m doubling the recipe then I bake it all up front and keep leftovers in the fridge to be reheated in the microwave later on.
Tom Hunt in The Guardian
- butter (for greasing)
- 2 stale croissants
- 1 egg
- 120ml milk (plus an extra splash if your croissants are large. I use full fat milk)
- ½ tbsp sugar
- splash of bourbon (or rum or brandy. Optional)
- handful of chocolate chips (or 1 tbsp jam. Optional but recommended)
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan) and generously butter a dish that will hold 2 croissants. If possible, choose a small, deep dish over a large, shallow one. Individual ramekins will also work.
- Add 1 egg, 120ml of milk, ½ tablespoon of sugar and a splash of bourbon (optional) into a mixing jug. Whisk well.
- Tear 2 croissants into the buttered dish and pour the milk mixture over the croissants. Use a spoon to press the pastries into the liquid to make sure they’re soaked through. If the croissants have immediately absorbed all of the liquid, add an extra splash of milk.
- If using, scatter over a small handful of chocolate chips or dot a tablespoon of jam in and around the pastries.
- Bake for around 20 minutes until golden brown on top. A double sized portion may take an extra 5-10 minutes to cook all the way through. The pudding will rise well but then deflate a little once it comes out of the oven. Serve with cream, ice cream or just as it is.