This is the Cinderella to the not-so-ugly sister that is bread and butter pudding, and another good way to use up leftover croissants. Incredibly rich, it’s a very versatile dish - just as good for dessert as it is for a lazy weekend breakfast. If you happen to have a group of friends over this recipe is easy to double up, as we have in the photo. If you bake Cinnamon Buns (see p.74 of the Gail's cookbook for the recipe) and don’t manage to eat them all while fresh, you can swap them for the croissants here, reducing the sugar in the custard by half.
|For the pudding:|
|20g||butter, at room temperature|
|8||croissants, 1-2 days old|
|For the custard:|
|½ tsp||fine sea salt|
|Icing sugar, for dusting|
You will need a pudding dish about 20cm x 30cm and 7cm deep.
Use the soft butter to liberally coat the insides of a pudding dish about 20cm x 30cm and 7cm deep. With a sharp, serrated knife, slice the croissants in half. Lay them, cut side down, in the dish with their tails poking up.
To make the custard, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Combine the milk, cream, caster sugar and salt in a medium pan. Use a sharp knife to split open the vanilla pod lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds. Add both pod and seeds to the saucepan. Bring the liquid to the boil over a medium heat, then remove from the heat and pour onto the beaten eggs in a slow stream, just a dribble at first to stop the eggs from from curdling, whisking all the while.
Once all the hot cream has been added, remove the vanilla pod and use a ladle to slowly spoon the custard over the croissants in three batches. The tops of some of the croissants will peak up, Jaws-like, above the custard, so press them down gently. Leave to soak for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Sprinkle the pudding with half the blueberries and bake for 45 minutes, rotating the dish after 25 minutes to ensure an even bake. The finished pudding should be golden brown, springy and moist, but with no liquid custard left. Leave for 10-15 minutes before serving warm, dusted lightly with icing sugar, with the remaining blueberries alongside.
Cherries are a great alternative to blueberries - stone them first so your guests aren’t left spitting. Or make chocolate-orange pudding by swapping the blueberries for chunks of chopped, dark chocolate. Dollop a few tablespoons of marmalade over the croissants before you ladle over the custard.