Pumpkin-Cranberry Croissant Bread Pudding with Crème Anglaise

The bread pudding is easy to set up. The Creme Anglaise might sound a little daunting but, it's not. Split your work up - Set the bread pudding up and place it in the fridge. Come back a few hours later and while it's baking, make the Creme Anglaise. You can also choose to make the Creme Anglaise a day or two before you plan to serve it. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. You've got an out... Instead of the Creme Anglaise just make some quick vanilla cream icing. Recipe below.

8 large croissants

1/3 cup dried cranberries

6 large eggs

3/4 cup Pumpkin Butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Slice croissants in half lengthwise. Tear each half into bite-size pieces.

2. Layer croissant pieces evenly in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle croissant pieces evenly with the dried cranberries.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt.

4. Pour the liquid mixture over the croissant pieces in the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.

5. Bake uncovered at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until set. Dollop each serving with Crème Anglaise (recipe follows) and serve warm. Makes 10-12 servings.

Quick Vanilla Cream sauce instead of Creme Anglaise

1 can vanilla frosting some heavy cream for thinning if necessary

Place the frosting in a microwave safe bowl and cook it in the micro for 1 minute intervals until the frosting is thinner, more pourable and warm.

If you want to thin the frosting even more, whisk in some heavy cream just 2 T at a time and return it to the microwave.

Creme Anglaise:

2 cups light cream or half and half

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (can be found specialty food stores) or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup granulated white sugar

5 large egg yolks

Have a fine medium-sized strainer and bowl ready near the stove.

In a stainless steel bowl stir together, using a wooden spoon, the sugar and yolks until well blended. (Do not let this mixture sit too long or a film will develop on the yolks.)

In a small saucepan heat the cream and vanilla bean (if using) just to the boiling point. Remove from heat and whisk a few tablespoons of the cream into the yolk mixture. Then, gradually add the remaining cream, whisking constantly.

Pour this mixture into a medium sized saucepan and, over medium heat, gently heat the mixture to just below the boiling point (170 - 175 degrees F). You will notice that steam will begin to appear and the mixture will be slightly thicker than heavy cream. Do not boil or the eggs will curdle.

Check to see if it is the right consistency by holding a wooden spoon sideways that is covered with the custard and run your finger along the back of the spoon. If the streak remains without the cream running down through the streak, it is ready

Immediately remove from the heat and pour through the strainer, scraping up any thickened cream that settles on the bottom of the pan. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sauce. Stir until seeds separate. For maximum flavor, return the pod to the sauce until serving time. (If you are using pure vanilla extract, instead of the vanilla bean, add it to the cream now.)

The creme anglaise can be refrigerated covered with plastic wrap for a couple of days. Note: If sauce was overheated and curdling occurs, pour instantly into a blender and process until smooth before straining. If necessary, add a little heavy cream to the mixture before blending. Makes about 2 cups

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