Studded with melting chunks of chocolate, this airy croissant bread pudding — made in a pressure cooker — makes a delicious finale to any meal. The vanilla custard sauce is a thin sauce, which you can also spoon over slices of cake or fresh fruit.
6 large eggs
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
6 cups torn egg bread (1" cubes)*
1-1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chunks
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 cups water
Vanilla Custard Sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
2 tbsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
* Challah or Hawaiian sweet egg bread is best for this recipe, but you can also use a white bread with some structure, like a homestyle white.
Step 1: Coat the inside of a 2-quart soufflé dish with nonstick cooking spray. (Make sure the dish will fit inside your cooker.) Make a sling for the soufflé dish and place the soufflé dish in the centre of the sling. To make a sling for the soufflé dish, cut a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil 24" long. Fold it in half lengthwise, and then in half again two more times, to create a 3" x 24" strip.
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Add the bread cubes and chocolate, pressing the cubes into the custard, and stir until the liquid is absorbed by the bread. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and drizzle with the melted butter.
Step 3: Pour the water into the pressure cooker and place the trivet in the pot. Using the sling, lower the soufflé dish into the pressure cooker and fold the ends over the pudding to keep them inside the pressure cooker. Lock the lid in place and cook at high pressure for 25 minutes.
Step 4: Release the pressure naturally and remove the lid, tilting the pot away from you to avoid the escaping steam. Using the sling, lift the soufflé dish out of the pot and transfer to a cooling rack. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Step 5: To make the sauce, stir together all the sauce ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Strain into a heat-proof bowl and cool completely. (Store any leftover sauce in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.)
Step 6: Serve the bread pudding warm with the custard sauce.
Reprinted with permission from Diane Phillips' The Easy Pressure Cooker Cookbook (2011 Chronicle Books).