Baklava Bread Pudding

Baklava Bread Pudding

Serves 6 – 8

7 Large Croissants
8 Whole Eggs
2 Cups Half and Half
2 Cups Whole Milk
Zest from 1 Orange
1 Tsp. Almond Extract
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon, ground (plus extra for sprinkling)
1/2 Tsp. Allspice, ground
3/4 Cup Almonds, Slivered
3/4 Cup Walnuts, Chopped
2 Tbsp. Melted Butter
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 Cup Honey
2/3 Cup Greek Yogurt
1/2 Tsp. Almond Extract
Juice from Half a Lemon
Zest from 1 Whole Lemon

Prepare The Bread Pudding
Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Cut 6 of the Croissants into about 1″ Cubes and place on a baking sheet. Toast the cubes in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, tossing every few minutes so that all the sides get a bit crispy, but not hard. Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes, then put the Croissant cubes into a large mixing bowl.

In a large bowl mix together: Eggs, Half and Half, Milk, Orange Zest, Almond Extract, Vanilla Extract, Salt, Sugar, Cinnamon and Allspice. Pour the custard over the croissant cubes and stir it all together. Then add a 1/2 Cup of Almonds and a 1/2 Cup of Walnuts to croissant mixture and gently fold the nuts into the croissant cubes. Once the nuts have been combined, allow the mixture to rest in the bowl for 30 minutes.

Grease a baking dish with butter. (I used a 12″ X 8.5″ Baker with a 3″ High Side)

Pour the Pudding mixture into the baking dish and press in into the dish with a wooden spoon. Take the last Croissant and rip it into uneven chunks, press these into the top of the pudding. Last, scatter the remaining Almonds and Walnuts over the Pudding. Drizzle the melted Butter evenly over the top of the pudding and then sprinkle 1 Tbsp of Cinnamon and 1 Tbsp of Sugar over the top.

Place the pudding in the center of the oven and bake for 40 – 50 minutes. The baking time will vary depending on how deep your baking dish is. For my 3″ deep baker it took me almost a full hour. You are looking for the pudding to be a little bit jiggly, but pretty firm. The idea is that you won’t see any liquid from the eggs, it will all have soaked into the bread cubes. Also, if your cooking time is going on the long side you may loosely tent the pudding with aluminum foil so that the top does not get too dark, just be sure that you remove it for the last few minutes of baking.

When the pudding is done, remove it from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and allow it to cool for at least 30 – 45 minutes, after that resting period is over you can dig in!! This pudding is most delicious when served warm, topped with Lemon-Honey Whipped Topping and garnished with a few slivered almonds and a drizzle of honey!

Lemon-Honey Whipped Topping
Using an electric mixture, beat the heavy whipping cream and the honey together until stiff peaks form, this will take a couple of minutes.

In a small bowl add the yogurt, almond extract, lemon juice and lemon zest. Once the yogurt is ready, fold it into the whipped cream and serve! You can make this head of time, simply refrigerate it until you need it. Be aware that the texture will be more velvety and thick than regular whipped cream.