Super-dark caramel is the central flavor in these bite-size sweets from The Ginger & White Cookbook. It's cooked until it's almost burnt, then pulled off the stove and drizzled over croissant slices. A thick custard is poured on top, and allowed to set until they've turned into miniature bread puddings. The tops stay light, and the bottoms are dense and sweet—the best of both worlds.
Why this recipe works:
- The caramel and custard soak into the cut croissant pieces, giving them the look of popovers, but with a sweet, custardy bite.
- Using croissants to make this recipe is a stroke of genius: the multiple layers of light, yet buttery pastry keep the dessert from tasting too heavy.
Excerpted from The Ginger & White Cookbook by Tonia George, Emma Scott & Nicholas Scott (Mitchell Beazley). Copyright (c)2014 . Photographs by Jenny Zarins.
- Yield:Makes 6 puddings
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:2 hours
- Softened butter, for greasing
- 6 croissants, cut widthwise into slices around 1 inch thick
- 3 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
- For the caramel
- 1 1/4 cups granulated or superfine sugar
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- For the custard
- 4/5 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 free-range eggs, plus 2 yolks
First make the caramel. Place the sugar and the water in a saucepan and, without stirring, bring to a simmer over a low heat (stirring encourages crystals to form). When the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and let the mixture become deep brown. Be brave and wait until it is just about to smoke and burn, then take the pan off the heat and carefully pour in the cream—this might hiss and splutter as it hits the caramel. Return the pan to the heat and stir the mixture until smooth. Set aside to cool at room temperature. When cool enough to handle, pour into a pitcher.
Meanwhile, make the custard. Whisk the cream, milk, and eggs together until combined, then strain into a separate pitcher.
Grease a 6-hole muffin pan or use a silicone muffin pan. Place the ugly croissant ends in the holes, then arrange the neat slices on top so that they protrude a bit above the pan. Pour over the caramel, reserving 1/2 cup for later. Pour the custard over the top and place the puddings in the fridge to soak for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 360ºF. Pour hot water into a large roasting pan to a depth of about 1 in. Place the muffin pan in the water and bake the puddings for 25-35 minutes, until just set in the center. Set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes. Drizzle the remaining caramel over the puddings and sprinkle with the walnuts. Lift out with a blunt knife and transfer to serving plates.