Bread-and-butter pudding is one reason to celebrate winter. For our revision of the classic comforting dessert, we have replaced raisins with burnt orange, and added chocolate for a rich, gooey treat. You can play around with lots of different flavour combinations. Try it with stewed fruit, or banana and walnuts. It's a very forgiving dish.
2 oranges, skins on, thinly sliced
2 tbsp castor sugar
80g salted butter
2 croissants, cut into rounds
300g sourdough slices, cut into quarters
300g dark chocolate, melted
5 eggs, whisked
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthways, seeds scraped
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
Preheat oven to 220C (200C fan-forced).
Lie orange slices on a tray lined with baking paper in one layer. Sprinkle with castor sugar and bake until extremely dark but not quite burnt (10-12 minutes).
Reduce oven to 200C (180C fan-forced).
Grease a large, heavyset frying pan or baking dish with butter. Place some of the croissant rounds in a layer covering the bottom of the pan, then add a layer of sourdough slices.
Pour over enough chocolate to cover the surface, then top with some of the orange slices. Repeat in alternating layers of croissant, sourdough, chocolate and orange, keeping some fruit and chocolate aside to garnish later.
In a medium bowl, add eggs and sugar and whisk.
In a medium saucepan, add buttermilk, cream, vanilla pod and seeds, brandy and thyme and bring to boil. Pour buttermilk mixture over whisked eggs and sugar and mix well to make a custard.
Pour carefully over the bread pudding, filling in the gaps. Arrange remaining orange slices on top and drizzle with chocolate.
Bake for 35 minutes and serve immediately with espresso mascarpone.