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This version of bread pudding, made with croissants and bittersweet chocolate, yields a decadent dessert that is truly sublime
- Preheat an oven to 325°F Lightly butter a 2-quart oval au gratin dish.
- Pour the milk and cream into a heavy saucepan. Place the vanilla bean on a work surface. Using a small, sharp knife, cut the bean in half lengthwise. Using the knife tip, scrape the seeds from the bean, then add the seeds and bean halves to the milk mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the 5 oz. finely chopped chocolate until smooth. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove vanilla bean stalk.
- In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and salt until blended. Gradually pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
- Add the croissants and stir to combine. Let stand for 20 minutes, occasionally pressing the croissants into the mixture.
- Stir 3 oz. of the chopped chocolate into the croissant mixture and transfer to the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining chopped chocolate on top.
- Bake until a knife inserted near the center of the pudding comes out almost clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.