Dear Michelle: A wonderfully different take on the classic, La Boulange sandwiches a rich, not-too-sweet croissant bread pudding between two crumbly short dough crusts. Dust the puddings with powdered sugar, and serve with whipped cream, chocolate sauce or a selection of fresh fruit. Enjoy!
Total time: 1½ hours, plus cooling and chilling times
Note: Adapted from La Boulange in San Francisco. This recipe calls for 4-inch-wide ramekins.
2 1/4 ounces (¼ stick plus ½ tablespoon) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1½ tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5.8 ounces) flour
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and salt over low speed until combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer running, add the egg, beating until fully incorporated. Gradually add the flour and continue to mix until it forms a sandy texture. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
3 ounces (¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, heavy cream, milk and vanilla.
Pudding and assembly
About 3 cups (4 ounces) chopped (½-inch dice) croissants, 3 to 4 croissants depending on size
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Whipped cream, chocolate sauce and/or fresh fruit, for garnish
1. Butter each of 6 ramekins. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut 12 short dough circles: On a floured board, roll out the short dough to a thickness of a scant one-fourth inch. Cut the dough into 4-inch circles (wide enough to cover the base of the ramekins). You will need a total of 12 circles; re-roll and cut the dough as needed. Line the bottom of each ramekin with 1 short dough circle.
3. Divide the chopped croissants among the ramekins, making a solid single layer of croissants. Ladle the custard evenly over the croissants. Top each ramekin with a short dough circle.
4. Place the puddings on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the custard is puffed and set, and the crust is firm and faintly colored, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly before unmolding.
5. Dust the puddings with powdered sugar. The puddings can be served with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and/or fresh fruit. Serve immediately.
Each serving: 513 calories; 10 grams protein; 59 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 27 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 198 mg cholesterol; 30 grams sugar; 239 mg sodium.