Croissant bread pudding fresh out of the oven is a wonderfully cozy and rustic dessert. Prepared with a vanilla-infused custard, and studded with chunks of dark chocolate, my croissant bread pudding recipe is extra decadent when served with a dollop of homemade Chantilly whipped cream!
Bread Pudding with a Deliciously Decadent Twist
Cozying up with a little bowl of freshly baked, golden and puffy bread pudding is probably one of our favorite little indulgences.
Bread pudding is such a simple-yet-elegant dessert, especially when served with an espresso or cappuccino in the afternoon, or even enjoyed as a slightly naughty breakfast—it's irresistible!
And what I absolutely adore about making homemade bread pudding is that I can use any type of bread to prepare it, depending on what I'm craving. I've often used challah bread, or brioche, even substituted cubed-up cinnamon rolls as a decadent alternative.
So when I decided to fiddle around a bit and prepare some delicious bread pudding for us recently, I thought I'd try something new and use croissants in place of bread—so delicious!
But, I didn't stop there, my friends...
Because I really enjoy Pain au Chocolat, which is basically a croissant-style pastry filled with dark chocolate, I even sprinkled over top of my croissant bread pudding recipe some rich chunks of dark chocolate for added flair!
For us, this croissant bread pudding kissed with chocolate is a truly special, cafe-inspired dessert, and when we dollop some homemade Chantilly whipped cream over top of the warm bread pudding, we feel a bit like we're in dessert heaven!
How to Make Croissant Bread Pudding
Preparing a sweet, warm and cozy croissant bread pudding is basically just like preparing a regular bread pudding, but there is one extra step...
Because croissants can be quite delicate in texture, they would likely dissolve in the custard if they weren't slightly toasted and dried out a bit first.
So I begin by cutting about a pound of croissants into large cubes, then arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet, and then bake for about 12 minutes, until slightly toasted and crisp.
Once slightly cooled, the croissant cubes are combined with the sweetened, vanilla-infused custard, topped with some chocolate, and baked off until hot, golden and puffed to perfection!
Here's a little peek at my croissant bread pudding recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe
- To begin, I toast my croissant cubes in a 375° degree oven for a few minutes just to dry the croissants out a bit; then, I allow them to slightly cool in a large bowl, and reduce the oven temp to 350° for the actual baking of the bread pudding.
- While the cubes cool, I whisk up my bread pudding custard with some eggs, half and half and other fragrant ingredients, then pour this mixture over the cubes, gently toss to combine, and allow the mixture to sit for about 20 minutes.
- Then, I spoon and/or pour the mixture into a prepared baking dish, sprinkle over the chocolate, and bake for a total time of roughly 1 hour, 12 minutes.
- I serve the croissant bread pudding warm with my homemade Chantilly whipped cream dolloped on top, and perhaps a bit of grated chocolate.
Croissant Bread Pudding
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 8
Nutrition Info: 789 calories per serving (with whipped cream)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 12 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Croissant Bread Pudding Ingredients:
- 1 pound (16 ounces) croissants, cut into large cubes
- ½ tablespoon softened, unsalted butter, for greasing baking dish
- ½ plus cup 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 large, whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 ½ cups half and half
- 1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (slightly heaping) chopped, dark chocolate (about 2 ounces), plus extra for grating as optional garnish
- Powdered sugar for dusting over top, optional garnish
Chantilly Whipped Cream Ingredients:
- 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your croissant bread pudding ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Preheat the oven to 375°; once hot, place the cubed croissants onto a large baking sheet (no need to add foil or parchment), and toast the croissant cubes for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally for even toasting; remove from oven and allow the cubes to cool slightly in a large metal or glass bowl.
- Reduce the oven temp to 350°. Grease a 3 quart baking dish with the ½ tablespoon of softened, unsalted butter, and set aside.
- To prepare your custard for the bread pudding, whisk together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, whole eggs, and yolk in a large bowl; then, add in the half and half and the vanilla, and whisk to blend well.
- Pour this custard mixture over the cooled croissant cubes, and using your hands, gently toss the cubes in the custard to incorporate. Allow this mixture to sit for 20 minutes so that the croissant cubes can soak up the custard a bit.
- Spoon or pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish (it will be quite liquid-y, which is normal), gently press down on it to submerge the croissants, and sprinkle the chopped chocolate over top.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with foil, and using a wooden skewer, poke 8-10 small holes in the foil. Bake the croissant bread pudding for 40 minutes. Then, uncover and bake the croissant bread pudding for an additional 32-34 minutes (roughly), or until it is deeply golden, puffed, and the custard set, with a slightly “creamy” texture.
- While the bread pudding bakes, prepare the Chantilly whipped cream (if preparing): add all of the ingredients to a large, cold mixing bowl, and using a hand-held mixer (or even a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment), whip until thickened and stiff peaks form. Cover and keep cold in the fridge.
- Once the croissant bread puffing is baked, remove from oven and allow it to slightly cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving with Chantilly whipped cream, and perhaps a sprinkle of powdered sugar or grated/shaved chocolate.
Tips & Tidbits for my Croissant Bread Pudding:
- The type of consistency bread pudding should have: Ideally, bread pudding should have a very creamy and soft texture in the center. The custard should be just set (yet not runny), which creates a texture that makes the bread cubes velvety and moist.
- Toast the croissants to dry them out: Toasting the cubed croissants is a must with this recipe, as it really helps the cubes maintain their shape and not completely dissolve into the custard. Croissants are tender, flaky and delicate, and skipping this step may make your bread pudding more mushy rather than “cubed” looking.
- Add you favorite chocolate, or leave it out: I love a good quality dark chocolate here, so I simply chop up about 2 ounces of a dark chocolate bar. You could also use bagged, dark chocolate chunks or chips, or even sub milk chocolate. You can even leave the chocolate out altogether, if you prefer.
- Use half and half for creamier flavor, or opt for milk: Either milk or half and half will work just fine for the custard base for the croissant bread pudding, but I like to use half and half because it is richer and creamier in flavor. Use whichever you prefer, or happen to have on hand.
- Bake bread pudding covered to begin, then uncover: Starting the croissant bread pudding off in the oven covered with foil will help it remain nice and moist. It eliminates the need for a water bath in the oven, as the steam in the covered pudding itself helps things cook and puff up. Then, after 40 minutes, remove the foil and allow the pudding to bake further and become golden and slightly toasted on top.
- Homemade Chantilly whipped cream on top: My homemade Chantilly whipped cream is totally optional, as you can skip this or serve with your preferred topping. I like the slightly sweetened and vanilla-scented whipped cream dolloped on top as a finisher, as it is quite light and won't weigh the fluffy croissant bread pudding down while adding a touch of creaminess.