I must say, in spite of the plethora wonderful pâtisseries and desserts I gorge myself on in this fair City of Lights, I do often miss the comfort and satisfaction of baking my own goodies. However, with the lack of proper baking equipment-pans, mixers and beaters-I just have not tried my hand at it here. Until now. This past weekend, I had friends over for dinner for the first time here, and of course, I just had to serve an over-the-top dessert. But what? I ransacked my brains trying to figure out what I could make with my very limited equipment, that was bound to turn out perfectly? Cakes were out of the question, as I have neither mixers nor cake pans. And as my oven has a gas mark, it is difficult to determine the exact temperature. Thus, I tried to think of a recipe which would be somewhat flexible with respect to baking temperature, pan size, and the like, and I realized-what better than bread pudding? One certainly doesn't need exact measurements, and the temperature doesn't need to be exact to the degree. I thought of several possible variations to spruce up the dessert-chocolate, tropical fruit, etc., but then I came across this insanely good sounding recipe for Bananas Foster Bread Pudding at Brown Eyed Baker. I saw the photo, and it was love at first sight! :) Instantly, my search had ended, and I trotted out to multiple locales to secure all the ingredients. I made several changes to the original recipe, however. First of all, I mainly used the bananas foster sauce recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. For the actual pudding, I adapted Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's Bread Pudding recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I changed the recipe by using half oat milk and half full-fat cream, and dairy butter instead of nondairy, but more than that, the change that really elevated this already gem of a dessert from simply delicious to a truly decadent gourmandise: I used croissants instead of bread! Yes, with such high quality croissants available in Paris, these flaky, buttery delights were just what was needed to set this dessert apart. Need I say how moist and sinfully scrumptious this delight, coupled with the warm bananas foster sauce, turned out? Just use fresh, ripe bananas, real butter and the best quality croissants you can find, and I guarantee you nothing but sheer delight!
Croissant Bread Pudding(adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking and Brown Eyed Baker):
6 croissants, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 ripe banana
1 cup oat milk(more if needed-I added about 1/3 cup extra)
1 cup full-fat cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C or gas mark 4. Add to a 9 inch square baking pan. Drizzle
Mash the banana. Add milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Beat until well
mixed. Pour over torn croissants and push down lightly over the croissants with fork until they are covered and soaking up the mixture. Bake for 45 minutes.
Bananas Foster Sauce(adapted from Brown Eyed Baker):
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 bananas, sliced
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Heat a large skillet on low heat. Add butter and brown sugar, and cook while continuously stirring until the sugar begins to melt into the butter. Add the banana slices, and cook for 1 minute, moving the skillet back and forth. Add vanilla extract and cream, and whisk to fully incorporate them. Spoon warm over warm bread pudding.