What’s this? The first pudding post in 7 months? And on a Friday? It must be Fiesta Friday’s first anniversary!
This recipe has been on my radar for years. I remember being at Uni (10 years ago) and Nigella came on the TV looking flawless in a coat and said how she likes to make this as a cheeky supper after a night out. We all laughed. Firstly, over the three years of study none of us had ever come home from a night out looking so good. She didn’t have a kebab or a road cone and didn’t fall over or be sick once. Secondly, the only croissant ever to last long enough to get stale was stale before it got to me; and thirdly, if I had tried making that after a night out I would have either burned the house down or burned myself down.
So imagine my surprise the other morning when despite a sterling effort I had three croissants left at the end of breakfast. What else could I do but give it a go?
To make this you will need: 2 stale croissants, 100g caster sugar, 2 tbs water, 125ml double cream, 125ml full fat milk, 2tbs bourbon, and 2 eggs (beat the eggs).
Firstly, while still wearing your coat turn the oven on to 180c (Gas 4), and tear the croissants into pieces and put them in a small dish. I didn’t have a gratin dish so I used one of my small tins, which was just the right size.
Pour the caster sugar into a small heavy bottomed pan and add 2tbs of water. Stir it in so it all dissolves and out the pan on a medium high heat. Don’t stir the sugary water while it bubbles away. After 3-5 minutes it should have turned a deep amber colour. While its bubbling away you can measure out the milk, cream and beat the eggs.
This was the exact moment when I would have burned down my house during my drunken youth. Too violent to stop and take a picture even. Turn the heat down low and pour in the cream, whiskey and milk while stirring rigorously. It was like an explosion and I’m surprised I still have my arm hair. Any solid bits of toffee that form will dissolve as you keep on whisking over the low heat. Keep whisking and take the pan off the heat and whisk in the beaten eggs.
Pour the caramel-y custard over the croissants and leave it to soak for 10 minutes. Put it in the oven for 20 minutes.
I’m in two minds about this. It could definitely have fed 3 or 4 instead of making 2 people feel a little sick. It was very rich, I think too rich for me but I liked the flavour. My lover didn’t. He ate as much as he could and said “No offence; that was horrible. It was just some wet croissant in some singing sauce.” So I won’t be making that again!
It looked lovely, it smelled delicious, it just wasn’t for us. It was good to finally make this after all these years, and I reckon with smaller portions we’d have been ok… Next time, I’ll make it drunk!
Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2007 ISBN 9780701181840)