Torn day-old croissants take this easy bread pudding to new heights. The flakiness and buttery flavor add to the richness of the pudding while sweetened condensed milk and canned fruit make it a super easy preparation. Consider a rich brioche or challah if you don't have croissants.
Use just about any canned fruit in the recipe. Fruit cocktail, diced or sliced peaches, pears, pineapple, or canned apricots are all excellent choices. Or use a combination of canned fruits. If you have some small single-serve containers of fruit, combine a few of them in this recipe. Add about 1/2 cup of dried cranberries or raisins to the pudding along with the canned fruit if you'd like.
The bread pudding is served warm or at room temperature with the warm vanilla sauce. If you choose not to use the sauce recipe, serve the pudding with maple syrup or a fruit sauce mixture.
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 5 to 6 cups torn croissants (about 6 ounces)
- 1 (15-ounce) can fruit cocktail (or apricot slices, or sliced or diced peaches in juice or light syrup, undrained)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs (beaten)
- For the Vanilla Sauce
- 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 5 tablespoons whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; stir until well blended.
- Turn the bread pudding mixture into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until browned and set.
- Meanwhile, make the vanilla sauce. In a saucepan, combine the butter, granulated and brown sugars, and whipping cream. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, constantly stirring, for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and thickened.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and add the vanilla. Stir to blend.
- Remove the bread pudding to a rack to cool slightly.
- Slice the warm bread pudding and place it on individual dessert plates. Spoon warm sauce over the pudding.
For a bourbon sauce, replace the vanilla extract with 3 tablespoons of bourbon and decrease the whipping cream to 3 tablespoons.
If you don't have sweetened condensed milk, it's easy to make it from scratch. In a saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream with 1 1/2 cups of white granulated sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to the lowest temperature to maintain a simmer. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes or until it has reduced and thickened somewhat, stirring frequently. Add a vanilla bean or cinnamon stick to the mixture if desired. It will thicken as it cools.