Bread pudding is a favorite around here, so we decided to make an extra-rich version using croissants instead of bread. Paired with Armagnac-soaked prunes and a rich custard, this is a simple, elegant dessert.
What to buy: Armagnac is a brandy from the Bordeaux region of France; it can be found at high-end liquor stores. If you can’t find it, substitute Cognac or a drinkable brandy.
We found that fresher croissants made for a silkier pudding, but this recipe is also a great way to use up stale ones.
- 1Quarter prunes and combine with Armagnac in a medium bowl. Set aside and let soak until prunes are slightly plump but not all liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange the rack in the middle. Strain prune mixture, reserving prunes and Armagnac separately.
- 2Whisk together reserved Armagnac, half-and-half, milk, eggs, egg yolks, 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a medium bowl until well combined; set aside. Evenly distribute croissant pieces and prunes in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, pour custard mixture over croissants and prunes, and allow to soak for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring about 8 cups water to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- 3Evenly distribute remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over bread pudding. Set the filled baking dish into a larger roasting pan and add enough of the hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
- 4Bake until custard is set and top is lightly browned, about 1 hour. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold, and top with ice cream or Caramel Sauce.