I call this dessert “celebratory” because we only have it on special occasions. That said, sometimes our special occasion is simply that I remembered to buy all the ingredients and our kids are resting long enough for me to make it. Hey, no one said you had to wait for a birthday or a holiday to celebrate something.
There’s a restaurant in our town that makes to-die-for bread pudding. My husband drools just thinking about it. He raved about it so much that I felt it necessary to try to recreate it at home. But my first few attempts fell short. Like, WAY short. Not surprisingly, the restaurant had a policy of not sharing their ridiculously amazing secret recipes (I can’t say I blame them; it’s gotta be a huge money-maker). So I resorted to interrogating the waiters about the ingredients every time we went. Piece by piece I managed to put the recipe together. Once I perfected it, my husband warned me I should only make this on “special occasions” or he’d be putting on a lot of unwanted pounds.
Speaking of celebrating, yesterday was our seventh wedding anniversary. Woohoo! So it was clearly the perfect time to whip up some bread pudding. As the old saying goes, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And, because I love him so, I wanted his heart to be full.
My bread pudding only takes seven ingredients – 1 cup half and half, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2 large croissants (or 5 King’s Hawaiian Savory Butter Rolls), and some berries (not pictured, but either fresh or frozen will do).
A note on the ingredients: If you don’t have heavy cream or half and half, milk works too. It just won’t be as rich or creamy. Also, store bought croissants are generally not dye-free. You can make croissants at home, but it is somewhat labor intensive. A local bakery may have fresh croissants, just double check that they’re really dye-free. The ones in my picture have a tinge of yellow dye. A huge bummer, but since we have it so rarely (and it was just for us, not the kids) we decided it was worth it. King’s Hawaiian Savory Butter Rolls work fabulously too, and are dye-free.
You’ll want to start this at least 90 minutes before you want to eat dessert. It doesn’t take long to prepare, but you have to factor in cooking and cooling times.
Bring your half and half and heavy cream to a simmer, then remove from the heat and let cool.
While you’re waiting, grease your serving dishes (I use coconut oil in some ramekins). Then layer in pieces of the croissants (1 croissant, or 2 1/2 King’s Hawaiian rolls, per ramekin) and berries.
Whisk together your eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
Once your milk mixture has cooled for a few minutes, slowly stir it into the egg mixture.
Pour this egg-milk mix over your bread and berries, and push the bread down so every piece is fully covered. Then sprinkle a little sugar on top.
Let them soak for at least 15 minutes while you prepare a water bath and let your oven heat up to 325.
Carefully put it in the oven on a middle rack. Try not to get your water bath too full or it’ll be hard not to spill.
Let it bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and puffed.
When your bread pudding is fully cooked, let your serving dishes chill out on a cooling rack for a while. They are oh so delicious warm, but if you eat them straight out of the oven you will get burned. Trust us. We were a little too impatient once…
Now keep in mind, there’s a reason this recipe makes two large servings: you will NOT want to share. I purposely made this recipe so you won’t have to. Now go have an indulgent time celebrating with someone you love.
I tried the recipe with King’s Hawaiian Savory Butter Rolls and it tasted amazing! You can find King’s Hawaiian at Target, Wal-Mart, and most grocery stores. So glad we found a cheap, dye-free alternative to croissants! Woohoo!