A warm baked pain au chocolat pudding makes the ideal dessert for Christmas or Thanksgiving.
We soak the pain au chocolat in an easy vanilla custard spiced with nutmeg, bake it in the oven and then top it with butter and a crunchy caramelised cinnamon sugar. Served warm out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream, this festive Christmas dessert is surprisingly simple but an absolute showstopper.
This pain au chocolate pudding is one of my favourite dessert recipes to make for Christmas or Thanksgiving. It is suitable for large numbers and requires very little of your time and attention, leaving you free to focus your attention on other dishes or to enjoy time with your guests.
The first time I made this dessert I was working as a private chef in France and I served it to 14 guests, and it was so easy, I was thrilled. I'd been challenged to come up with a dessert made from pain au chocolat and this was the result. I then tweaked it to have some delicate winter spices in the vanilla custard and made the topping into a caramelised cinnamon sugar and it's now perfect for the holiday season.
Without the nutmeg and cinnamon, this pain au chocolate bread and butter pudding works as a dessert at any time of the year. But there is something about the crunchy puff pastry and chocolate and warm baked custard that makes it the ideal dessert for winter. And anything you can make in 15 minutes and then give your attention elsewhere until oven time is a massive win for me.
Love all things pastry? Try this salmon en croute.
- Pain au chocolate
This pain au chocolat dessert works best with all butter pain au chocolat that are 1-2 days old. So if you're ever wondering what to do with stale pain au chocolate, this is your answer!
- Double cream/heavy cream
- Full fat/whole milk
I use whole milk in this pain au chocolat dessert recipe as it adds extra richness to the custard.
- Golden caster sugar
You can use ordinary granulated sugar if you don't have golden sugar (brown sugar), I just think it adds something extra to this luxurious dessert.
Use unsalted butter for this recipe. In fact, I always use unsalted butter as I like to control both the quantity and quality of salt I add to my dishes.
- Vanilla extract
If you happen to have a vanilla pod you can use this instead, but they are so expensive these days and the essence works just as well.
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground nutmeg
You can omit the spices in this recipe to make it suitable for all seasons.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Slice each pain au chocolate horizontally into three pieces and arrange them cut side facing up in a lightly greased baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla essence and nutmeg.
Pour the vanilla custard mixture over the pain au chocolat and place it in the fridge to soak for two hours.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake the pain au chocolate bread and butter pudding for 30 minutes, then take it out of the oven.
Spread butter across the top of the pain au chocolat dessert and mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon together before sprinkling it on top.
Bake for a further 10 minutes until the top of the pain au chocolat bread pudding is crunchy and the custard mixture is cooked.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a light dusting of cinnamon.
Hint: When you take the pain au chocolat bread pudding out of the oven after 30 minutes, jiggle the dish and check to see how liquid the centre is. When the vanilla custard is ready it should be soft but solid and should souffle up slightly around the pain au chocolat.
Wine pairing for pain au chocolate pudding
I serve this pain au chocolate dessert with something sweet but not too heavy. A tawny port would work well, an Australian Muscat, Italian Amarone or a Maury red dessert wine would all pair beautifully with this pain au chocolat pudding.
Here are a few ways you can adapt this recipe to suit you.
- Pastries - instead of pain au chocolat, try plain or almond croissants.
- Spices - try this recipe without the nutmeg and cinnamon to make it less festive.
- Orange - add some orange zest to the custard to add different flavour and zing.
Looking for something fruity to make as well? Try this fig pavlova with cardamom cream.
You will need the following to make this easy dessert:
- Oven safe baking dish
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring jug
- Weighing scales
- Bread knife
- Chopping board
Store any leftovers in the fridge and consume within 2-3 days. You can enjoy this pain au chocolat pudding cold or gently reheat it in the oven for 15 minutes or until warmed through.
This dessert does not freeze well.
This dessert does not work as well with pain au chocolat that are too bread-like in texture. Try to find flaky, buttery, crisp pain au choclat for the best results.
Baked Pain Au Chocolat Pudding
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 knife
- 1 baking dish
- 1 pestle and mortar
- 1 measuring jug
- 9 pain au chocolat
- 300 ml double cream
- 300 ml full-fat milk
- 6 eggs
- 100 grams golden caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon golden caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Slice each pain au chocolate horizontally into three pieces and arrange them cut side facing up in a lightly greased baking dish.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla essence and nutmeg.
- Pour the vanilla custard mixture over the pain au chocolat and place it in the fridge to soak for two hours.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake the pain au chocolate bread and butter pudding for 30 minutes, then take it out of the oven.
- Spread butter across the top of the pain au chocolat dessert and mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon together before sprinkling it on top.
- Bake for a further 10 minutes until the top of the pain au chocolat bread pudding is crunchy and the custard mixture is cooked.
- Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a light dusting of cinnamon.
Pain au chocolat (or 'bread with chocolate') is a French pastry made from crispy laminated sweet pastry wrapped about sticks of chocolate and baked in the oven.
Bread and butter pudding is a traditional British dessert invented to use up stale bread. It was mentioned in culinary literature as early as 1728! Traditionally, it has raisins in it as well as the bread, custard and spices.
Bread and butter pudding is a warm, crunchy and cosy dessert that is ideal for winter. The spices make it perfectly festive and it can be made in advance to give you time to celebrate with family and friends.