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For our "Bestaurants" show, Rach and her guests, chefs Curtis Stone and Jeff Mauro, each riff on a recipe from one of their favorite (or "best") restaurants. Curtis loves the Bananutella French Toast at the Back on the Beach Cafe in Santa Monica, CA. "It's a combination of two of my favorite things—bananas and Nutella," he says. Here, he spins the dish into a bread pudding made with croissants. Serve it for dessert or a decadent breakfast.
Pro Tip from Curtis: The bread pudding is best served warm, so reheat any leftovers in the oven or microwave.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Spread the croissant pieces on a large sheet pan and toast for about 10 minutes, or until dried out and crisp.
Meanwhile, spread the hazelnuts on another sheet pan and toast for 8 minutes, or until golden and skins are blistered. Wrap hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and let steam for 1 minute, then rub in towel to remove loose skins. Don't worry if some of the skins don't come off. Let cool, then coarsely chop the hazelnuts and set aside.
Raise the oven temperature to 350°F.
In large bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla until blended.
Arrange half of the croissant pieces in a single layer in 12-inch oval pan. Pour some custard over the top. Add the remaining croissant pieces to the remaining custard in the bowl and gently toss to coat. Set aside for about 30 minutes to allow the croissants to soften and soak up the custard.
Sprinkle some hazelnuts over the croissants in the pan, then evenly distribute half of the bananas. Dollop half of the chocolate-hazelnut spread over the top. Top with the remaining croissant mixture, evenly distribute the remaining bananas and dollop the remaining hazelnut spread over the top. Sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts and the granulated sugar over the top.
Bake until puffed and golden brown on top, but still moist inside, about 50 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.