Sunday, September 21, 2008

Maple and pecan croissant pudding

Hello everyone, I spent a few days in Canberra this week for work. Unlike a lot of people I really like Canberra, not least because one of the cafes that features on my list of top places for hot chocolate can be found there! It's a bakery in Kingston called Silo and as well as using good quality chocolate in this drink, it's served in a dainty cup and saucer, which in my view makes hot chocolate taste even better. I am delighted to report that I achieved a personal best of five hot chocolates in three days from this cafe - I figured I might as well make the most of it as I don't anticipate being in Canberra again in the near future.

I was also lucky enough to catch up with my good friends Ray and Clare and their beautiful daughter Rosa Grace for breakfast at the cafe at Old Parliament House. I had never been to OPH before so didn't know what to expect (I was suitably impressed). However, what really struck me was that I could have happily ordered pretty well anything from the breakfast menu - it was easily the most enticing list of breakfast dishes I have ever seen! If I lived in Canberra I think I would be there very regularly so I could work my way through them.

Anyway, today's pudding is a recipe that I cut out of Good Living in the SMH nearly four years ago (yes, that's how many recipes I have in my scrapbook - it's taken me this long to get up to it!) It was a story about using claypots for cooking. I have a claypot, which I originally gave to Dad and which he used a lot, particularly for Asian cooking. I use it a fair bit too for all sorts of things, especially dishes that are slow cooked. I tried out this pudding on a group of people recently and it went down very well. I made it again today for my sister and her husband and they seemed to enjoy it too. There are quite a few steps to it, so I work out my timing ahead of time and write it all down so that I know when to do each task. You'll notice as it cooks the pudding has the most gorgeous aroma.

Have a wonderful week. Love from Jane xxx

Maple and pecan croissant pudding

Serves four

What you need:
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 45ml brandy
  • 4 large croissants
  • 50g butter
  • 40g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 300ml milk
  • 150ml thin cream
  • 120ml good quality maple syrup
  • 25g demerara sugar (if you only have caster sugar, that's fine)
  • Maple syrup and thin cream to serve

What you do:
  1. Place the sultanas and brandy in a small pan on the stove and heat gently until warm. Leave to stand for one hour.
  2. Soak a claypot in cold water for 15 minutes, then drain. Leave for 2-3 minutes then lightly grease the base and sides of the pot.
  3. Cut the croissants into thick slices and butter on one side (I know this sounds incredibly indulgent, and it is, it's really worth it).
  4. Arrange the croissant slices, buttered side up and slightly overlapping, in the claypot.
  5. Sprinkle the sultantas and pecan nuts on top.
  6. In a large bowl combine the beaten eggs and milk, then gradually beat in the cream and maple syrup.
  7. Pour the egg mixture through a sieve on to the croissants, sultanas and nuts. Let it stand for 30 minutes so that the custard soaks into the croissants.
  8. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top, cover the dish and place it in an UNHEATED oven. Set the oven to 180C and bake for 40 minutes.
  9. Remove the lid and continue to bake for another 20 minutes, or until the custard is set and top is golden.
  10. Leave the pudding to cool for about 15 minutes. Serve with cream and extra maple syrup.