Wednesday, February 25, 2009
When I purchased a birthday cake from Harvest Moon Bakery Boutique in Richmond for my sister last week, I also purchased a trio of "Chocolate Croissants" for a snack in the car. Unfortunately, they were nothing like the chocolate croissants I was expecting - I was expecting a luscious, sinful bar of chocolate rolled into the middle of the croissant like the Vancouver Croissant company does. (Note: Vancouver Croissant is an commercial bakery and not a retail one - you can purchase their delicious, fluffy croissants at retail bakeries like Uprising Breads on Venables. And if you do, buy a bag of their Ginger cookies too - they are SO GOOD!!!)
However, Harvest Moon Bakerys' chocolate croissant was disappointing. It was basically a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) croissant. There was only the (fake) chocolate topping on the outside to satiate my sweet tooth. Boo. (The Strawberry Napoleon birthday cake that I bought for my sister was delicious though! Everyone asked me where I had purchased it.)
So, I ate one croissant in the car on the way to the restaurant (I was famished!) and another croissant in the car on the way home one day (it was a busy week). Meanwhile, the last, final and lonely chocolate croissant sat on my kitchen island for couple days. M asked me what I was doing with it - "It's getting a little hard," he said, poking it.
When SNBM (SuperNice Boss Man) gave me a day off on Monday, I decided to make Chocolate Bread Pudding with the lonely little croissant! I developed this recipe when I worked for a food consultant a number of years ago.
Ingredients - Custard
2/3 cup half and half cream
2 squares bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 t butter, unsalted
1 t cocoa powder
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
Method - Custard
In a medium heat-proof bowl, combine chocolate, butter, and cocoa powder.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the half and half over medium low heat until small bubbles start to form. Temper the chocolate by adding a couple spoonfuls of the hot cream into the bowl of chocolate, and mixing until the cream cools slightly and the chocolate melts. Add the remaining cream in a find stream, mixing the chocolate until the mixture is uniform.
In a small bowl, beat together egg and egg yolk. Add in sugar and beat quickly to incorporate.
Ensure that the cream mixture has cooled slightly, then beat in egg mixture. Cover with film and refrigerate for at least six hours, or overnight to allow custard to thicken.
Ingredients - Bread
1/3 cup half and half cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 T cocoa powder
1-2 stale croissants, slices of broiche, challah, or other loose-grained pastry/bread, cut or sliced into rounds or ~1" dice
Method - Bread
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat and stir half and half cream, sugar, and cocoa powder over medium low heat until cream is just beginning to bubble, and sugar and cocoa have been incorporated.
Place croissants slices or bread cubes into a shallow dish. Pour hot cream mixture over the bread, and turn the bread so that the cream has a chance to be absorbed. Allow the cream to cool and the bread to soak while the oven preheats to 350ºF.
Method - Assembly
Prepare 3 ramekins in a round cake pan or other 2-4" deep vessel.
Spoon a layer of thickened custard into the bottom of each ramekin. Top with a layer of drained bread. Repeat the layers, ending with a spoonful (or three) of custard.
Bake in a bain marie for approximately 30-35 minutes, until the custard is cooked all the way through. Cool immediately in an ice bath.
Enjoy warm or cold!