I have a staling problem.
Really, it’s an overbaking problem.
I can’t explain my need to overbake, except for stating the obvious, that cooking for one can be tricky, but baking for one is damn near impossible. Knowing this doesn’t curb my sweet tooth. So I simply bake first and ask questions later. Does anyone else do this?
When I’m unable to get to enough
friends, aquaintances, strangers, people not moving away fast enough to foist the extras on – a formidable task when everyone is doing a new-years-resolution-fueled backing away in horror from anything with butter, chocolate, and cream – I have to find something to do with the leftovers. I don’t want them to feel self-conscious. “Oh sure, why did everyone beeline for flaky over there? What does she have that I don’t? I’m buttery. I’m delicious. But I’m still just sitting here. Untouched. Alone.” Baked goods are melodramatic. Like this is news?
So….not knowing whether the batch of croissants I just made would freeze well, I froze half and baked half. To hedge my bets. Which means over a quarter of them were left staling on my counter. You guys know what I do with staling bread, muffins, cake, brioche, etc.
If you don’t have stale croissants (I mean, why would you?), just change the title of this.
Croissant Bread Pudding
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped or in chip form
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
@ 2 cups chocolate croissants (or whatever is handy), cubed
Heat half and half until just steaming. Pour onto chocolate. Wait one minute and whisk until smooth. Whisk together eggs and sugar. Temper chocolate mixture in a slow steady stream into egg mixture. Butter 9″ cake pan. Arrange in a single layer. Pour chocolate mixture over, and press down to soak. Preheat oven to 375. Soak for 10-15 minutes.
Bake until the center is not jiggly. Mine only took 20 minutes.
Chocolate Orange Pastry Cream and Orange Cream Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
zest of 2 oranges
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
6 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract.
Mix orange zest in with cream, milk, and half and half in a saucepan. Put on medium heat and heat until just steaming.
Steep for 10 minutes. Meanwhile whisk together sugar, corn starch, and salt. Add egg yolks and whisk until combined. Temper hot milk in a slow steady stream into egg mixture. Return to heat and cook on medium low, whisking continually, until the mixture just starts to bubble around the edges and becomes thick. Take off heat immediately. Whisk for another 30 seconds. For smoother texture, if desired, strain through fine mesh sieve. Stir in vanilla. Separate into two bowls. Add 2-4 tablespoons of chocolate, to taste to one half (start with two and build if necessary)and stir to melt chocolate. Place plastic wrap on each bowl, with the plastic touching the surface of the custard to prevent a skin, and place in the refridgerator until cool. 20-30 minutes.
Thin orange pastry cream with milk one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
“Supreme” (can that be a verb?) zested oranges – By supreme, I mean cut off top and bottom and carve around the orange skin. Use knife to cut wedges between the white skin. I cut mine over my water glass so that I can have some orange water.
Use a biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, or juice glass to cut circular sections out of the bread pudding. Layer the orange wedges on top of one circle, and “cement” with chocolate orange pastry cream. Place second circle on top, and dress with orange cream sauce.