Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with Hot Chocolate Caramel Sauce

O-M-G ... this is SO good!  When I put it on the table my husband took a bite and said oh my what is in this.  I wanted to enjoy it without guilt so, I did not want to list heavy cream, sugar, chocolate and croissants but, clearly all of those decadent ingredients makes this dessert truly sinful.  The bread pudding is absolutely divine.  It is warm, sweet and rich and so comforting.  Then you add the sauce which is just so good it throws this dessert over the top.  The sauce took a little time but, it was so worth it.  We had some left over and served it over ice cream and it was just as heavenly.  All I have to say is YUM and that I have been thinking (dreaming) about this dessert since I made it.  I am trying to think of a good reason to make it again real soon. 

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with Hot Chocolate Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey

Bread Pudding:

3 day old croissants (used 6 mini croissants from Trader Joe's)
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar plus 1-2 tablespoons for sprinkling
2 cups heavy cream
1/8  teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate finely chopped

Split the croissants in half lengthwise.  Butter a 8x8 baking dish or a 1.5 quart souffle dish.  Place the bottom halves of the croissants into the dish cut side up.  You may have to squeeze them to fit.  Set the tops aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs and 1 cup of sugar until smooth.  Slowly whisk in 1.5 cups of heavy cream.  Stir in the vanilla and salt.

In a saucepan over medium heat add the remaining half cup of cream and heat until it just begins to boil.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate.  Stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Let cool slightly.  Whisk the chocolate cream into the egg custard until dark and smooth. 

Pout half of the custard through a mesh sieve over the croissant bottoms.  Make sure the croissants are covered in chocolate.  Arrange the croissant tops over the custard.   Squeeze them tightly into the pan.  Strain the remaining custard over the croissants to thoroughly coat them.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place a dish on top to push the croissants down into the custard.  Refrigerate the dish for at least an hour.  The dish can be prepared in the morning and baked in the evening.

Bake at 325 on the middle rack.  Remove plastic and sprinkle with remaining sugar.  Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 60 minutes.

Chocolate Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate finely chopped or chips

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally until the syrup dissolves and starts to turn color.  Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup turns a dark amber color (4-5 minutes).  Watch because it can burn easily and quickly.

Immediately remove pan from heat and stir in cream and salt.  Use a long handled spoon and the caramel will hiss and spit when the cream hits.  Place the pan over low heat and cook stirring constantly until it thickens (4-5 minutes).  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Stir in chocolate until completely melted.

Remove pudding from oven and let cool for a few minutes.  Cut pudding into 6 portions.  Top each portion with a scoop of the hot sauce.  Ice cream on side is optional but, highly recommended.

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