08 January 2012

Egg Nog Croissant Pudding

In as much as I love the holidays with all the food and drink that come in tow, at times my fridge, overburdened with leftovers can be a bit of a challenge.

I don't want to waste anything (although, admittedly, some things to end up in the bin), but at the same time I do get tired of reliving meals over and over again.

Every December a carton or two of egg nog finds itself in my shopping trolley. I love good eggnog--rich and cream spiked with sweet woody nutmeg...and maybe some cognac or rye. I usually get a little tired of it...before its all drunk up.

After thinking about it for an extremely short while, I realised that all egg nog is is a custard of sorts. Just add some more egg and maybe a bit more sugar and I've got something pretty close to perfect for a holiday bread pudding.

The nice thing about bread and butter pudding is the relative freedom it allows--plain slices or sandwiches, flavours, textures--a non-recipe recipe. To me, all that really matters is that the bread is creamy soft because it has sopped up as much custard as it can, and that the pudding isn't too eggy-firm.

The "bread" part of the pudding can be anything really--stale bread (of course), challah, brioche, doughnuts, poundcake.

I bought a container of croissants for some lazy breakfasts. Well...the breakfasts were a bit too lazy as the flaky lovelies never did get slathered with butter and marmalade. But they could do well for a pudding.

To give it a bit of interest and contrast, I decided tart cranberries and crunchy pecan would play nicely against the mellow lushness of the softened croissants and the wibbly custard.

The end result is was lovely -- buttery croisstants that were at once burnished gold an flaky and soft and yielding in a nutmeggy custard, punctuated with the occasional sharp cranberry or the slight crackle of of a pecan.

Egg Nog Croissant Pudding
Yield: One 20cm x 20cm (8"x8") pan-- approx six servings

500ml (2c) egg nog
2 eggs, beaten
2Tbsp (30ml) sugar
grated nutmeg (roughly 1/8 - 1/4tsp)
4 stale butter croissants, torn into pieces
a couple of handfuls of dried cranberries, plumped in boiling water, roughly chopped
A handful of roughly chopped pecans


Butter the pan.

In a measuring jug mix the egg nog, eggs, sugar and nutmeg.

Arrange the torn croissants in the pan, Pour the eggnog mixture over top and let soak for at least 20m minutes, so the pastries absorb much of the liquid.

At this point you can preheat the oven to 180C/350F while the croissants soak.

Strew the top of the pudding with the fruit and nuts, tucking some into cracks and crevices where you will.

Bake for about 40-50 minutes. When done, the custard should be just set, with a bit of a wobble.

Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

I'm a quill for hire!

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