1 hr 30 mins
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.
1 cup good-quality pitted prunes (about 6 ounces)
1/3 cup Armagnac or brandy
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
5 to 6 croissants (about 1 pound total), torn into 2-inch pieces
Quarter 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.
Whisk 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.
Evenly 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.
Bake 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.