It's essentially a savoury bread and butter pudding, and in fairness to Fanny does seem like a good way to use up croissants. Fanny of course makes her own croissants but does not give the recipe yet (we are still learning the basics), and having made my own before I can understand why she was so very upset that her guests didn't bother with them - they do take a long time to produce. However Fanny concedes that shop bought croissants are just fine, even if 'we all know' that they only have a 'life of a few hours' before they are inedible. I'm imagining many housewives in 1970 in an utter panic once their guests have left trying to whip up this recipe and resuscitate the croissants before it's too late. Luckily it's quick and simple.
First of all, to make a savoury custard. I'm using unsweetened Almond milk for a deeper, nuttier, savoury flavour but of course Fanny uses plain old milk. While it's 'raising to a heat, but not boiled' I whisk up three eggs and an extra yolk. When the milk is at temperature (whichever temperature that is) it's poured on top and beaten in. Fanny warns not to whisk at this stage, as this will create irritating and useless foam. Oops.
Once it's seasoned well with salt and pepper, grated Parmesan (or alternative) is added with some soft white breadcrumbs, before pouring into a well buttered oven dish. Fanny insists these are 'proper' homemade crumbs, passed through a hair sieve. Fanny gets angry at the thought of those horrid packets of yellow grit that look like the sediment from the bottom of poor old Polly's cage, and insists that these are NEVER used. Oh dear, I'm guessing she's seen my Croque Monsieur blog pits and that's why she's so angry. That, and those inconsiderate guests. Can't just be me upsetting her, can it?
Finally the croissants are 'sunk' into the mixture before being baked uncovered. I had to hold them down for a bit to soak in the custard (clearly my croissants weren't as rock hard as Fannys were) and push them down again halfway through baking. Fanny issues a warning that if I choose a dish which is too large the croissants will not be totally immersed and will come out 'black as an old boot' by the time the custard is set. Mine look well baked, but not black as old boots, so perhaps I chose well. The croissant bake is warming, comforting and tasty served with some vegetarian sausages and onion gravy... Just the thing to de-stress once those cheeky and frankly rude guests have gone.