Sunday, July 31, 2011

Croissant and Apple Pudding
The current Cookbook Challenge theme is European. There are so many great possibilities with this one, but I've been wanting to do more recipes from a cookbook called Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague by Rick Rodgers, published in 2002. You can tell from that title that this cookbook is pretty fantastic. I considered making sachertorte (the culinary symbol of Vienna) but I would have needed to buy a springform pan and I was already running late on this challenge so I wanted to make something a bit more simple that I didn't need to buy any equipment for. So croissant and apple pudding it was!

Who doesn't love croissants? Other than people that are crazy about eating healthy, low-calorie food, that is. The cookbook says this recipe is also called Kipferlkoch, which I'm assuming means Kipferl cake, Kipferl being an Austrian precursor to the croissant.

3 cups milk, heated
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
5 or 6 large croissants, torn into 1-inch pieces (10 to 12 ounces total)
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
confectioners' sugar, for garnish

I used one of these nifty devices to peel, core, and slice the apples:
I highly recommend buying one of these if you often cook and bake with apples. They work so well.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350F. Lightly butter an 8-inch square glass baking dish.
Make a custard by whisking the milk, yolks, and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a medium bowl to dissolve the sugar. Since the milk had to be heated anyway, I just put it and the sugar in a medium saucepan and whisked it together until the milk was warm and the sugar was dissolve, then took it off the burner to whisk in the egg yolks.
Place the croissants in another medium bowl and toss with 2 cups of the custard.
 Let stand, giving the croissants a stir every few minutes, until they have absorbed most of the custard, about 15 minutes.
Spread half of the croissants in the baking dish. Top with apples and raisins and sprinkle with the remaining sugar and the cinnamon.
Spread with the remaining croissants. Pour the remaining custard over the croissants. Place the dish on a baking dish. I'm not sure what the point is of the double baking dishes if you're not doing a water bath, but I'm sure there is one so I did it anyway.
Bake until golden brown and the center feels set when pressed gently, about 1 hour, 10 minutes. 
 Cool for 5 minutes. Dust the top with confectioners' sugar and serve warm.