I work at one of Copenhagen’s most famous pâtisseries where we produce hundreds of cakes and danishes every day. Most days we make (way) too much just to make the selection seem more appetizing with the overflow of beautiful sweets, even though we know that we won’t even sell half of it. This gives us an abundance of cakes, pastries and danishes every single night that hasn’t been sold and which can’t be sold the next day. Luckily, we are allowed to bring home as much as we can carry, which is absolutely amazing – free cake is my kind of cake. But it is also a great burden. Almost every single night I stock up on all kinds of cakes and danishes, even though I most definitely won’t eat most of them. I hate food wastage and it almost drives me to tears to see all of that perfectly good food go down the bin. And that’s where it will end up: if we don’t bring it home with us, we’ll leave it to the rats (okay, to the garbage bin – you get the idea).
But I have come to an impasse. My freezer is filled to the brim with all of the cakes that can be frozen, which is all of them, and I know that I won’t get to eat them as I have grown a custom to the cakes from the shop, so now they’re not as appetizing as they used to be. I look at them all day, every day, and I eat them several times a week. At some point I had to hit the wall where I couldn’t find as much pleasure in the them as I used to.
So, I had to come up with a solution! For even though the cakes had driven me to the verge of insanity (seriously, I hoard those cakes, it’s not healthy) there were still the problem of the food being wasted. That won’t happen on my watch! So last week I brought home 20 or so plain croissants with the goal of not letting them go to waste. My solution: a bread and butter pudding made with croissants! I thought that I had hit gold, but it turns out that it was already a thing. Oh well, it was still one hell of an idea!
Off to Pinterest I went, where I quickly found a recipe. Caramel and bourbon sounded heavenly, but I had to give it a tweak or three – I can’t help it. Following a recipe just doesn’t come natural to me. So I chose to grate in some orange zest to balance out the overall heaviness of the dessert and swap the bourbon for dark rum. To really live up to the ‘suzette’ part of the recipe you’d have to use grand marnier, which I believe would lift the dish to a whole other level. I just didn’t have any on hand, so I had to use dark rum, which was a great substitute. I also threw in some vanilla – the salt of the sweet kitchen. It just doesn’t feel right to make a cake or pudding without vanilla. And the result was amazing! You won’t believe how delicious this pudding is! Seriously, you don’t get it: It was so good! I dreamt about it the following night, it was that good. Go home Tom Hiddleston, this is the new naughty fantasy of the ladies (well, of every living, breathing thing, really). It serves four-six people, but my mum and I ate the whole thing just the two of us – in one go. The stomach aches were real, but it was so worth it!
I highly recommend that you go and make this right now. And then again tomorrow. I thoroughly regretted that I’d used all of the other croissants to eat with my orange and ginger marmalade so I couldn’t make it again and again and again. Well, fortunately I can bring home a huge bag of croissants again tomorrow. Yes!
Croissant Suzette Pudding
Serves 4-6 people (or 2 very hungry ladies)
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
For this recipe I totally agree with Nigella that you should use cream and full fat milk, since the pudding is already on the not-particularly-healthy side. But if you do want to you could just use regular milk (or even soy milk – actually, I think that would be delicious!) in place of both the full fat and the cream.
And if you do not like alcohol, just leave it out. I personally think that it makes the whole dish, but I won’t be eating yours, now will I? You could just drizzle on some caramel sauce to make up for the missing spark, if you’d like.
I drizzled my ovenproof dish with sugar to get a nice caramel bottom on my pudding, which is a nice tough if you can take another element of sweetness.
4 stale croissants
200 g sugar
4 tbsp. water
250 ml cream
250 ml full fat milk
Zest of 1 orange
4-6 tbsp. dark rum or grand marnier
4 organic eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350ºF.
Rip up the croissants into a ovenproof dish with the capacity of about 1 litre. (If desired, butter the dish and drizzle with a layer of sugar to give the pudding a nice sticky caramel bottom.)
Swirl the sugar and water in a big saucepan and put it over a medium to high heat. Let it bubble away until it reaches a dark amber color – the darker the color, the richer a taste of caramel you will get. Don’t stir the sugar while it bubbles as this will make it crystalize.
Turn down the heat and pour in the cream while whisking. It will splutter quite a bit, but just for a bit. Pour in the milk and dark rum/grand marnier as well. Don’t worry if lumps of toffee forms: just keep on stirring until they dissolve.
In a heatproof bowl beat together the eggs, orange zest and vanilla. Slowly pour the caramel milk over the eggs while whisking.
Pour the custard over the croissants and let it steep for 5-10 minutes for the croissants to soak up the custard. Drizzle the top with a pinch of sugar before putting it into the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes until crispy on top and no liquid oozes out when lightly pressed. If the top gets too dark before the middle has cooked all the way through, just cover the top with tinfoil until finished.
Eat it straight out of the dish with a big spoon (recommended), or serve it with vanilla ice cream, crème anglaise, caramel sauce, or a lovely orange jam. Maybe even just a dollop of crème fraîche to balance out the sweetness. Or pour over even more dark rum/grand marnier and set fire to it! That would be awesome!