Executive Chef Jamie Zelco, Bistro Lancaster, Lancaster Hotel, Houston.
Croissant Bread Pudding:
- 8 extra-large eggs
- 8 yolks from extra-large eggs
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups condensed milk
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1⁄2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. good cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 12 croissants, fresh or stale, hand-torn
Tart Cherry Glaze:
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 3 Tbsp. brandy
- 1⁄2 cup water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups dried figs
- 1 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 2 pieces star anise
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, cream, condensed milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Set the custard mixture aside. Tear the croissants with your hands into large pieces. In a 10”x15”x2-1⁄2” oval baking dish, distribute the large pieces of croissants. Pour the custard mix over the croissants and allow to soak for 10 minutes, pressing down gently. Don’t pack croissants down too much; this will remove all the air from your pudding and it will then be heavy and dense.
Place pan in a larger pan and fill it with 1” of hot water. Do not let the water come in contact with the pudding. Cover the bread pudding with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn’t touch the pudding. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40-45 more minutes or until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
For tart cherry glaze: Add all ingredients together in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. When it reaches boil, drop temperature down to low and let simmer (reduce) for 15 minutes. Set aside.
For fig compote: Rehydrate dried figs with other ingredients. Let them cook on the stove until they’re very soft. Remove figs from liquid and puree figs with 1⁄4 of the poaching liquid. Finish with 1 tbsp. creme fraiche.
When plating, put 2 Tbsp. of fig compote on the plate and stack a piece of bread pudding on top. Add cherry glaze and finish with creme fraiche.