One amazing thing about the Internet is the number of friends you meet from all over the universe. Just plug a hobby (read obsession) into your browser, such as scuba diving, reading mysteries, or, as in my case, making bread pudding, and you have a bunch of fellow enthusiasts knocking at your door. Well, maybe not quite that close, but they’re at least within reaching distance of your computer keyboard.
One such friend is Kathy Jorgensen of California who I met while discussing cookbooks on CookbooksEtCetera, a cookbook collectors’ group on Yahoo. Soon we found we also enjoyed collecting recipes, including some scrumptious desserts, and she shared a recipe she had found for bread pudding made with croissants, bourbon, and an incredible sounding caramel sauce.
And, surprisingly, this pudding is a quick and easy dish for today’s busy cook, created by the popular British cook, Nigella Lawson, also known as the Domestic Goddess (gee whiz, why doesn’t anyone refer to me that way?). Lawson is noted for her hands on, not fussy cooking, and eating well when time is short.
I have to admit this one is in my “to try” pile, and I hope to get to it soon. And with Nigella as a source you can’t go wrong.
CARAMEL CROISSANT PUDDING
(from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson)
2 stale croissants
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons bourbon (or rum)
2 eggs, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Tear the croissants into pieces and put in a small gratin dish; I use a cast-iron oval one with a capacity of about 2 cups for this.
3. Put the sugar and water into a saucepan, and swirl around to help dissolve the sugar before putting the saucepan on the burner over medium to high heat.
4. Caramelize the sugar and water mixture by letting it bubble away until it all turns a deep amber color; this will take 3-5 minutes. Keep looking but don't be too timid.
5. Turn heat down to low and add the cream-ignoring all spluttering-and, whisking in the milk and bourbon. Any solid toffee that forms in the pan will dissolve easily if you keep whisking over low heat. Take off the heat and, still whisking, add the beaten eggs. Pour the caramel bourbon over the croissants and leave to steep for 10 minutes if the croissants are very stale.
6. Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes and prepare to swoon.
Serves 2 greedy people