Cranberry and Croissant Bread Pudding

A decadent and delicious breakfast for special occasions, Cranberry and Croissant Bread Pudding is perfect for the winter holidays.

Cranberry and Croissant Bread Pudding with Champagne Zabaglione Sauce

This Cranberry and Croissant Bread Pudding with Champagne Zabaglione Sauce has a decidedly Italian flair and I feel home again when I’m making dishes like this.

My grandparents are from all over; I’m a mixture of German, Scandinavian, English and Irish. So would someone please tell me why I love all things Italian?

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My theory is that a female in the family made a clandestine visit to Italy once, came home after a fling with a handsome Italian man and unbeknownst to anyone else, started the genetic pool of Italian blood that I know runs through my veins.

I love Italian food, architecture, wine and well ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ which of course, is the dream I envision coming true at any moment. Of course I’ll be serving Cranberry and Croissant Bread Pudding every morning for breakfast when I have guests. 🙂

I fancy my home to have an Italian feel to it though it is a Cape Cod style on the outside and in moments of abject reality I know that having wine bottles placed everywhere for decor does not really qualify. But please do not burst my bubble…a girl can dream, right?

When presented with this months Recipe Swap challenge to make Zabaglione as inspired from a restaurant in Chicago I was excited. I knew it was a custard made with Marsala wine and that was about it.

My sweet friend Lora at Cake Duchess was my polar opposite; no biggie for her. Probably because she feeds her family Zabaglione for snacks.

And you should hear her say it…really, I’m pathetic; just hearing her accent makes me swoon. I know if I ever heard her hubs Fabrizio speak Italian it would be all over.

No, I would not be all over HIM…but I might cave and buy that one way ticket to the place I’ve never been that I know I have romanticized beyond compare.

Cranberry and Croissant Bread Pudding with Champagne Zabaglione Sauce

Zabaglione is typically made using egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine. But I had a bit of champagne left over from New Years and though I do have a system for removing air to try to preserve freshness, I knew that using it in a dish would be a better idea than drinking it.

So I decided to make a Cranberry and Croissant Bread Pudding using Champagne. Though following on the heels of the season of overindulgence and sweets; this might be indulgent but the champagne and cranberries keep it from being overly sweet.

It was is simply fabulous (I’m saving it for this week when some friends come over…or at least I’m going to try!).

A quick web search to see if that had been done resulted in finding a dish from Chef Billy Paresi and I just had to, with a few of my own revisions of course!

Cherries became cranberries and I used brown sugar in the custard mixture for the bread pudding. The original recipe also called for whipped cream but I have to tell you…topping it with some cranberries that I candied in a Champagne simple syrup was a good call and was enough.

It’s plenty rich without whipping cream, the cranberries are heavenly and they add such a nice visual touch too!

Happy Birthday Laura!

I’ve decided that any dessert as sophisticated as Cranberry and Croissant Bread Pudding must be in celebration of something. So I’m making it for my baby sister Laura as a belated birthday celebration; her birthday was this past Wednesday.

Now…she might not be a baby anymore but our 16 year age difference meant she was ‘sort of’ my baby once many years ago and that will never change. She lives in Wisconsin so we seldom get together but it doesn’t mean she goes unremembered on those special days.

Neither of us really need gifts from each other but I only wish she was here sharing this with me. It’s wonderful, it’s pretty and hey Laura…it’s vegetarian too! XOXO

Looking forward, there will be no ‘leftover champagne’ necessary…we’ll open a bottle just to make this; you should take a leap of faith and do the same!

Cranberry and Croissant Bread Pudding

A luscious breakfast dish made for special occasions; the Champagne Zabaglione Sauce puts it over the top.
5 from 50 or more votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 437 kcal


For the Candied Cranberries

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup Champagne Or either Prosecco or Cava
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries

For the Bread Pudding

  • 4 large or 6 medium croissants
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½ cup brown sugar

For the Zabaglione

  • 3 egg yolks
  • cup sugar
  • 1 cup Champagne


Candy the Cranberries

  • Combine the sugar and champagne over medium heat, bring to a boil until sugar dissolves; lower heat.
  • Add the cranberries and let them cook until they just start to burst. Remove them from the heat and let them cool in the syrup in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Prepare the Bread Pudding

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Tear croissants into 1 inch pieces and place them on a sheet pan; put them in the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and dry.
  • Scrap the seeds from the vanilla bean and mix with 2 cups heavy cream, 6 eggs yolks and brown sugar. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Butter a round souffle or rectangular casserole dish and scatter the bread cubes over the bottom; sprinkle with the dried cranberries.
  • Pour the vanilla bean custard evenly over the croissants and berries and place the dish in a deep pan. I used my turkey roaster for this. Fill the pan with warm water halfway up the sides of the souffle dish.
  • Cover the large pan with aluminum foil and bake in the oven at 350° for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of your dish.

To Make the Zabaglione

  • About 10 minutes before the bread pudding is finished, make the zabaglione.
  • Using a double boiler fill with water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the insert and heat on high.
  • Whisk 3 egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar & champagne in the pan.
  • Beat vigorously until thick and foamy; about 8-10 minutes; it should be ready at the same time as the baked bread pudding.
  • Pour the zabaglione over the bread pudding and top with the candied cranberries. Serve warm.


I had rather small eggs and ended up having to use 4 egg yolks to get the Zabaglione to thicken so adjust accordingly.


Nutrition Facts
Cranberry and Croissant Bread Pudding
Serving Size
1 Serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword bread pudding, champagne, zabaglione
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. ALL my rellies are French so I have no idea why I love Italian food so much. I reckon it’s because my father and I got jet black hair – someone jumped the fence somewhere along the line. 🙂

    Perfect dessert.

    1. This was so amazingly good Bonnie; just one of those things you do that you ‘think’ sounds good but in reality turn out amazing. I just bought some croissants today…I think I am going to have to do another bread pudding; they are wonderful for that use.

    1. This was one of those that sounded good but the end result was just amazing. Using croissants instead of bread, making the champagne custard sauce. But the highlight for me? That cranberry simple syrup made with champagne (well, really cava which is SO affordable but some have no idea what it is, so I call it champagne even if from Spain!). I already have plans to make Champagne Cranberry sauce for the holidays next year. Soooo good!

  2. What a fantastic recipe. Sinfully decadent and it’s really perfect for any celebration, especially your sister’s birthday.

    1. I know that you can really appreciate a fabulous dessert sir. You must try it. SO amazingly good. The fresh fruit was truly the icing on the cake. Well, the fresh fruit candied in champagne syrup…that is the big keeper from this. It was all I could do to not sit and eat that stuff with a spoon!

    1. Thanks Priscilla…just wish my little sis had been here with me. Maybe the promise of a dessert like this will get her to hop on a plane next year. Yes, that’s what I’ll hope for!

  3. Wow! I’m pretty sure you posted this just for me. And, if not… I will just pretend. Looks amazing. I adore cranberries… and croissants… and champagne… and zabaglione. Ok, I really love everything about this!

    1. You are too cute…and I can assure you with all of those loves, you would LOVE this. It is a real keeper…and I can see it with other fruits at different times of the year too.

    1. Never will bread ever work again…the croissants are the BOMB. Um, guess who is actually having the last piece for breakfast today even as she replies to comments on her blog. Hmm??

    1. I promise worth making…one of the best new things I’ve had in a long time. Change up the fruit too…no reason to limit it to cranberry season.

  4. What a delightful dessert and champagne must have been a wonderful change up in the Zabaglione! I would love to hear Lora and Fabrizio say all the Italian names of food over and over again. It is such a pretty language.

    1. Not only did the champagne make it perfect (thought in truth I think no longer Zabaglione if using champagne, maybe it then becomes the French Sabayon?) you have to try a simple syrup using champagne (or cava for me typically) instead of water. Just the perfect fruit and syrup blend in my mind now. Next year I’m already planning champagne cranberry sauce…it’s THAT good Gwen.

  5. Gracious! This looks good. And I’ve got a bunch of cranberries still lingering around that I need to find something to do with. Perfect!

    1. I’ll tell you what Amy…even without the bread pudding and the zabaglione, making those cranberries in champagne was maybe the surprise keeper of this whole experience. I would use them for this, sure but also ice cream or cheese cake or…yes, just popping a couple on my mouth!

  6. Happy New Year to you, Barbara! And what a great way to celebrate. Haven’t made zabaglione in years but remember its decadent flavor. Definitely a good call on those cranberries — I’d love a little bowl right now (while watching Under the Tuscan Sun for the zillionth time!).

    1. I loved the champagne in it so much that I doubt I’ll be doing marsala ever! And…don’t splurge on champagne but use some cava or prosecco; the cranberries are SO good; I already know I’m going to make champagne cranberry sauce next year it’s so good Kelly.

  7. What a stunning, festive, decadent recipe and worthy of the best of birthday celebrations! Wow! When this popped into my email box I started drooling. Gorgeous!!!

    1. It was all of those…just wish Laura really had been here. We are simply TOO far apart! Thanks friend for the sweet comments. I’ll make it for you too!

  8. I am glad I have found your blog. I am Italian, but I live in The Netherlands. I wish that all Italians could see their own country through your keen, passionate eyes…

  9. I had to laugh when I read your explanation for loving all things Italian – we had a similar conversation a few days ago at the dinner table (I don’t trust traveling grandmothers at all!)
    I will call you Italian just for having wine bottles positioned in various places in your home:)
    And I have the authority to say this because I have a degree in Italian and can pronounce Zabaglione without an accent:) Lora can attest to this:)
    Love the mother-of-pearl handle on your fork!

  10. I was laughing out loud reading through the first part of this post and I’m sure Lora read this aloud to Fabrizio. This bread pudding is beautiful and beautifully photographed. Though there may be no Italian blood cursing through your family tree, I’m sure all members who read this would be very proud of you for having created this.

    Happy Birthday to your sister Laura, what a beautiful lady and family.

    1. Hehe…never thought about her doing that. I did think about her giving me a hard time but she’s my girl and KNOWS I’m kidding! I’m just glad I did it…this is at the top of my favorites list right now!

  11. Aww that’s such a sweet thing to do for your sister. I bet she was touched with the thought! Love the idea of candying the cranberries in champagne- yum! And the bread pudding is definitely worth a special occasion!

    Btw, I think your theory might explain my love for everything italian too!

    1. Now there is a group of us Italian wannabes; who could blame us right? And the cranberries? SO good! I made cranberry sauce this year using vodka…none of that next year; it will be champagne. It’s fantastic!

  12. I have often wondered myself if there was a torrid affair with an Italian in my family’s past somewhere. I love that you made yours with cranberries. That pop of color is magnificent. I bet the taste was really remarkable.

    1. Ah…good I am not alone in my lunacy! 🙂 The color and taste were definitely elevated with the cranberries but then I’m a cranberryaholic…what do I know?

    1. Thank you so much! The champagne makes it…I love it much more than the sweeter Marsala wine. Yum it truly is!

  13. I love a super custardy bread pudding – especially made with croissants. This is to.die.for. Happy belated birthday to your little sis! Beautiful family!

    1. You would love this then. Amazing stuff and really easy. Probably the easiest dessert with the most fabulous results I’ve ever made.

    1. It’s a good story huh? I mean, it has to be true! Thanks for the kudos; means a lot to me as does that sweet family.

  14. That is indeed a sophisticated and amazing dessert! As with every swap, I love seeing everyone adapt the recipe to use what they have on hand (champagne, in your case). Great recipe!

    1. And of course I always have a bottle of champagne at the ready. (NOT!) I was glad I did have some but I would certainly do this again with cava or prosecco and save a few bucks too.

  15. I just saw Under the Tuscan Sun for the first time this weekend!

    and this… looks incredible, I love the flavors and the photos are delicious as well. bread pudding with croissants is my favorite!

  16. Hmmm that’s what I call delicious! Your pictures are beautiful, I can’t wait to give the recipe a try! I afraid I will only have time for it at the weekend. But it looks so nice! My family would be amazed if I would bake this and serve it after dinner… thanks for the idea;)

    1. Thanks so much Cindy and actually so easy to make. The results factor far outweighs the difficulty factor!

    1. Thank you Curt; it was SO yummy. No, is…it’s all wrapped up tight in the fridge and now I’m hoping I’ll forget it’s there.

    1. I was sort of taken back myself Alison; it is seriously wonderful and so easy to make. A true keeper. Now I want to try different fruits but first must use up the 9 egg whites I have in the fridge!

  17. Ok, I have a dream of having a spanish hacienda, or a tuscan villa. A kitchen with big orange clay tiles floors and blue painted tile counter backsplashes. A huge wooden kitchen table. And gigantic doors that open up onto a patio. I grew up in stinken southern california where anything that doesn’t look like a peach colored stucco box is just ‘crazy.’ So where I got this dream from, I have no clue. Ill let you keep dreaming, if you let me, deal?? Deal! Oh yes, and your bread pudding looks REALLY yummy too 🙂

    1. Made mine water too. So I had some for breakfast. Uh oh…now firmly wrapped and saving for evening with friends. Or trying at least. 🙂

  18. Gorgeous photos Barb! This recipe looks divine, love the touch of using the cranberries too, especially at this time of the year. I didn’t know you had a younger sister, she is beautiful and such a lovely family too…thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much Wendy. It was surprisingly not overly sweet which is perfect for this time of year; the champagne and cranberries made all the difference!

  19. What a lovely dessert. I just adore bread pudding especially when it is made from croissants. From your sauce to the cranberries on top, this is just a gorgeous dish.

    1. Thank you Christianna…thank you for having me! I love the direction you went this month; really yours and mine would make a balanced dinner right?

  20. lol! It’s better you never talk w/Fabrizio b/c his accent is not very subtle;)And yes, he makes it for them sometimes as a snack…how did you know?:) You’re so funny. This is amazing. That one bite is just waiting for me…I know it. Happy Birthday to your lovely sister Laura. I bet she’d be thrilled to share this with you on her special day. xo

    1. Now of course you know I will HAVE to chat with him one day. But reality will set in and I won’t scoot away forever. Not just yet. 🙂

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