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Warm Bartlett Pear Bread Pudding

Ingredients
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 large Bartlett pears, cored and sliced
  • 10 large croissants, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups each: whole milk and whipping cream
  • 15 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • Pear Brandy Sauce (recipe follows)
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
Instructions

Mix 2/3 cup sugar and cinnamon. Toss 2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar mixture with pears and set aside. Brush exposed sides of croissants with melted butter and sprinkle liberally with remaining cinnamon sugar. Arrange on baking sheet, cut side up, and bake 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Cool at least 5 minutes. Butter sides and bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2 inch (we found 15x10x2 was a better fit) glass baking dish; set aside. Combine milk, cream, eggs, remaining 2 cups sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Place one layer of croissants, buttered side up, in glass dish. Arrange layer of pear slices on top. Repeat layers, ending with croissants. Pour egg mixture over all. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pudding pan with foil cover in larger pan of cold water on lower shelf in oven. Bake at 350 degrees 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until sharp knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pear Brandy Sauce 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 1/2 cups brown sugar 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream 2 eggs, lightly beaten 2 tablespoons pear brandy (optional) Melt butter and brown sugar in heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until well mixed and smooth. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in cream, then stir hot mixture into beaten eggs. Return all to pan and heat just to boiling (but do not allow to boil), beating vigorously all the while. Remove from heat and stir in brandy. To serve, cut bread pudding into 12 squares and serve warm topped with Pear Brandy Sauce. Dust entire plate with powdered sugar for added effect if desired.

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