Croissant Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce



cups lightly packed bite-size pieces of croissants
(about 8  5-1/2 inch croissants)
ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
cup sugar
1 1/3
cups milk
cup whipping cream
teaspoon vanilla extract
teaspoon salt
tablespoons butter



Spread the croissants in a large baking pan.  Dry, uncovered, at room temperature for 12 hours or heat in the oven at 250 degrees for 1 hour.


Butter a shallow 1-1/2-quart baking dish.  Arrange half the croissants in a single layer in the baking dish.  Sprinkle half the chocolate evenly over the croissants.  Top with the remaining croissants.


Whisk the eggs, sugar, milk, 1/2 cup of the cream, vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl; pour over the croissants.  Cut the butter in pieces; dot over the croissant mixture.  Chill, covered for 1 to 24 hours.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the pudding on the middle rack for 40 minutes or until slightly puffed and golden.  Melt the remaining chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water.  Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup cream and a pinch of salt.  Cook until well mixed, whisking constantly.  Keep warm, covered.


Serve the pudding warm or at room temperature with the sauce. 


Serves 8.