This butter pecan croissant bread pudding comes together in a flash and is perfect for an easy and delicious dessert or for a special holiday breakfast or brunch.
Why you'll love the croissant bread pudding
Cozy evenings at home over the holidays are perfect for an easy and warming dessert like this Butter Pecan Croissant Bread Pudding. It's comfort food at its holiday special best.
And since the holidays are a time when special meals extend to all times of the day, I think this one would be right at home for brunch or Christmas morning breakfast, as well.
Making bread pudding with croissants is always a special treat. Of course, it's a perfect way to use day-old or stale croissants, as well. The best part for me is the way the croissants provide a crispy top with a creamy, custardy bottom. A nice and delicious contrast. Enjoy this one warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Croissants - for best results, be sure your croissants are NOT super fresh, to avoid a mushy bread pudding. Day old or slightly stale croissants are perfect. If you have time, cut them in half an hour or more ahead and leave cut side up on the counter to dry out the insides a bit, too.
If you only have fresher croissants on hand, you can simulate the day-old croissant by lightly toasting the croissant halves or cubes.
Milk, Half and Half and Heavy Cream - feel free to adjust the amounts of each, to your taste or what you have on hand. You can also omit one and replace with another. As long as you end up with the total amount of liquid, it will be fine. (Of course, using the heavier creams will make for a richer bread pudding).
- If your dish is slightly larger than the one used here, simply add another croissant or two and scale up the amount of custard a bit.
- Croissant bread pudding looks prettiest when the croissants are left whole (or halved), but you can also cut the croissants into 1-inch chunks, if you prefer. For croissant chunks, cut the ahead of time and place in a large bowl on the counter to dry out for at least 1 hour or longer.
How to serve this bread pudding
For dessert, you can serve this bread pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. If you want a really special and decadent dessert, crème anglaise (warm vanilla sauce) would definitely do that. A warm caramel sauce would also be extra special.
Alternately, for breakfast or brunch, a dusting of icing/confectioners' sugar would be nice.
The flavours of this bread pudding would be lovely with browned breakfast sausage or bacon.
Making Ahead and Storing
You can assemble a croissant bread pudding ahead, cover and place into the refrigerator up to 8 hours (or overnight).
Store leftover in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
Butter Pecan Croissant Bread Pudding
- 6 day-old croissants, *see Note 1 below
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup half and half cream, 10% bf
- 1 cup heavy cream, 35% bf
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 4 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup butter, cut in to 6 cubes
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2-3/4 cup pecan pieces
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a shallow baking dish about 9x13-ish-oval (or close, such as 8x11 rectangle etc.)
- Cut croissants in half. Place the bottoms of the croissants over the bottom of your pan, trying to fill as much of the bottom evenly as possible, overlapping just slightly, if necessary. Place the top halves of the croissants randomly overtop. (*Alternately, you can cut the croissants into 1-inch cubes, if you prefer)
- Prepare the custard by combining all the custard ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well to combine. Pour the custard mixture over croissants (or croissant cubes) in pan. The liquid should come up a little more than halfway, leaving most of the croissant tops exposed. Let stand and soak about 5-10 minutes, while you prepare the topping.
- Prepare the topping by combining the butter and brown sugar. Cut the butter into the brown sugar with a pastry cutter or just use your fingers to rub the butter into the brown sugar until you have a crumb mixture. Scatter the crumb mixture overtop of the croissants, focusing on the areas between the croissant tops. Scatter the pecan pieces overtop as well. (*You can prepare up to this point, cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours or overnight).
- Bake in preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes, checking at the 35-40 minute mark and loosely covering the top with a sheet of aluminum foil, if the croissant tops are getting too brown. Be sure to test for doneness by inserting a spoon and lifting to make sure the bottom is moderately set, as it make look done due to the brown top, but the underneath may still be runny. When filling is set, remove from oven and let stand 5-10 minutes before serving warm. Nice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
- Day-old or stale croissants are recommended. If you have the time, cut in half ahead of time, to dry the insides a bit, too. If you only have fresher croissants, you can dry by lightly toasting the croissant half (or cubes) ahead.
- You can change up the milk/half and half/cream ratio and/or omit one or the other, as you like, as long as you end up with the same total amount of liquid. Obviously, omitting the cream or creams will result in a less rich bread pudding.
Nutritional information provided for general guidance only and should not be relied upon to make personal health decisions.