Toffee Bread Pudding with Clotted Cream and Caramel
Franklin Café and Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar, Boston
This dessert marries decadent bread pudding with the British pub classic, toffee pudding.
English Toffee Candy:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream at room temperature
- 1/2 vanilla bean pod, split and scraped
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cups heavy cream
- Six one-day-old croissants broken into 1/2-inch pieces
- Clotted cream or whipped cream
- Sea salt (optional)
To make the toffee, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the sugar and salt. Continue to cook the mixture until it reaches 285ºF on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat. Gradually add the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Spread out the mixture on a silpat or on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Let cool until the candy is set and no longer warm, about an hour. Break up the toffee into pea-sized pieces. Reserve 2 cups of pieces, saving the rest for another use.
To make the caramel sauce, bring the water and sugar to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. After about 8 minutes of cooking, the mixture will start to take on a caramel color at the edges of the pot. Remove from the heat; slowly add the heavy cream, whisking constantly. Stir in the vanilla seeds. Keep warm until needed.
To make the pudding, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Fill a tea kettle with water and bring to a boil. Butter a large 2-quart baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the egg yolks and cream. Add the reserved toffee pieces, then fold in the croissant pieces. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Place the dish in a larger baking dish or lipped cookie sheet. Pour enough boiling water into the larger pan to come about halfway up the sides of the dish, or enough to reach the edges of the cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the pudding slightly jiggles in the middle when shaken.
To serve, scoop individual servings of the pudding into servings bowls. Top with a dollop of clotted cream and drizzle with caramel sauce. If desired, finish with a pinch of sea salt.