This dessert is very delicious and very rich.
You may substitute challah for the croissants, if preferable. This would make a nice contribution to a pot-luck meal.
3 extra-large whole eggs
8 extra-large yolks
5 c half & half
1 ½ c sugar
1 ½ t pure vanilla extract
6 large croissants, preferably day old
1 c dark raisins or dried cherries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Whisk the eggs and yolks, sugar, half & half and vanilla in a medium bowl. Set the custard mixture aside. Slice croissants in half horizontally. In a 10 x 15-inch baking dish, distribute the bottoms of the croissants, then add raisins or cherries, then add the tops of the croissants. Be sure the raisins are down inside the custard as they will burn if they rise to the surface while baking.
Pour the custard over the croissants and allow it to soak in. Press the croissants several times to insure that they soak up the moisture; do this for about 10 minutes. Place the casserole into a larger dish (or a disposable aluminum pan). Fill the larger pan with a few inches of hot water to create a bath. Note: if using a disposable aluminum pan for the hot water bath, place it onto a large cookie sheet in order to stabilize it.
Place an aluminum foil tent-like shape over the entire top of both pans. This will allow the pudding to steam. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow some steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes or until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set, not jiggly.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 8 to 10
Variation: Serve the pudding with a shower of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream.