Almond Croissant Bread Pudding + Pear Sauce


Post by Anna

I try to be a wholesome eater as much as the next millennial who had a stint on an urban farm, but dealing with leftovers can be a test of health and moral uprightness. And what are you supposed to do when you’ve got a plate full of shrink-wrapped almond croissants staring you down from the pastry case?

Listen, the US government shut down last week. Have a treat. Almond croissants bathed in eggs, cream, and bourbon with dollops of pear-vanilla jam sounds reasonable. Besides, this Tupp Up is everything the federal government is not: comforting, libertine, and cost-effective.


This dish uses two things I love that go bad quick and often: pastries and fruit. Like a true hoarder, I sent out messages to stow away any day-old croissants from the café where I work and the café where I borrow yeast — (most places toss them, foolishly forgoing countless trays of bread pudding). These almond croissants were the perfect match for the pear sauce I had stored from our yard bounty, and the awkward 1.5 inches left of bourbon on the shelf.

DSC_0070The pear tree, in all her glory



Prep time: 15 minutes / Cook time: 30 minutes / Serves 10-12 / Adapted from Ina


  • 6 stale almond croissants
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 2 Tbs. bourbon
  • 1 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 3 pears, chopped into 1-inch cubes, or 1.5 cups pear sauce*


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Slice croissants in quarters, and arrange in a 9×13 pyrex pan so they’re just touching
  3. Whisk together eggs, cream, bourbon, salt and sugar. If using vanilla bean, split it and scrape it into the mixture. I like to stir in the entire open pod to let the remaining beans come loose.
  4. Spoon small dollops of pear sauce*, or chunks of pear, in the spaces between croissants
  5. Pour custard mixture over croissants and let soak for 10 minutes, pushing the tops down so they are submerged
  6. Top with toasted almond slices, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the custard has set and no liquid remains

*Pear sauce: I sliced and froze about 20 bartlett pears (skins on), and let them cook down on the stove with about a cup of sugar, the juice of one lemon, and one split vanilla bean until it was broken down into a thick sauce. Let it cook on low for about 45 minutes, adding about 1/2 cup of water slowly over time. Remove vanilla bean and any whole spices before storing. Great for baking in place of applesauce, or just at midnight, outta the jar.