Dec 11, 2011

Extra Curricular Activities - Blueberry Croissant Bread Pudding

Ideally I'd like to post an entry and discuss a certain topic, then showcase a recipe that corresponds back to what we've learned.  However, I bake A LOT.  And I don't want you guys to miss anything.  So when I'm baking up something random that doesn't have to do with that weeks post, I will label them 'Extra Curricular Activities.'  Or what my husband calls them 'Oh God you baked again?'

Blueberry Croissant Bread Pudding

I've had this recipe stashed away in my 'to-do' pile for a while.  It struck my eye because it calls for a can of sweetened condensed milk.  Anything prepared with SCM is guaranteed golden.  Shoot you don't even need to add it to anything, just a can opener and a spoon is fine.  But trust me you'll enjoy this one.  This is a great recipe to whip up if you have guests coming over for breakfast, it's super easy and take no-time.  However, a word to the wise.  What you put into a recipe is what you'll get out.  Example, when you're cooking with wine, you should always use a wine you'd also drink, not some cheapy 7/11 gas station wine that comes in 4-pack mini-bottles.  Quality ingredients are key.  All the time. 

The recipe calls for 2 extra large croissants (I actually had to use 5 regular size, maybe 5-inch in length)  I definitely recommend going to your local bakery (not the bakery counter at your grocery store, unless they make REALLY good ones) and purchasing some high-quality croissants, something flaky and soft and buttery.  I am mentioning this because the ones at the bakery counter at our local supermarket always remind me of those rolls the airplanes give you with your meal, you know the ones that are so hard and cold you can't even get your sad plastic knife through them.  So please, take the extra effort to find a decent croissant, it's the main component of the recipe.  Also, the recipe calls for blueberry preserves.  Please don't go buy jam-in-a-jar that when you scoop it out onto your toast it wiggles all over the place and then bounces off onto the floor.  Try to find a lovely preserve that is smooth and thick (but not jello thick) and delicious.  Something you'd actually enjoy eating. 


2 extra large croissants (or 5 regular size, approx 5-inch in length)
1/2 cup blueberry preserves (I used Bonne Maman, Fruits of the forest preserve)
3 large eggs
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1/2 chopped walnuts

Mixed Berry Sauce:

1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries
2-3 Tbsp brown sugar (depending on your sweet-tooth tolerance)

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray (I used a 9 x 13 oval glass pyrex, but either will work).  Cut croissants in half lengthwise. Spread about 1 tablespoon of preserves on each half.

Replace tops, and cut croissants into small strips.

Place strips in baking pan.

Dab remaining preserves on top (which I forgot to do here, but it still turned out fine!) and sprinkle with the chopped nuts.  Whisk eggs, then whisk in milk, water, butter, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Pour egg mixture over croissants.   Press croissants into liquid if necessary. Let set for 5 minutes.  The croissants should absorb the egg-mixture and become puffy like this:

Bake until a knife or pick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 45 minutes). Allow to cool for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, to prepare the sauce place frozen mixed berries and brown sugar in small sauce pan.  Cook berries till they're defrosted and start to melt into the sugar.  Bring to simmer and cook on low-medium heat until the sugar is melted, about 5 minutes.  Pour warm sauce on top of pudding.  Eat and repeat.

adapted from Bake or Break

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