Place the half-and-half, eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Using a hand-held blender, blend until smooth. Using the tip of a paring knife, scrape out the seeds from inside the vanilla bean and add them to the egg mixture. Blend briefly. Add the vanilla pod to the egg mixture, cover the bowl and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Tear the croissants into small pieces with your hands and place in another large bowl. Remove the vanilla pod from the egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture over the croissants and toss until well coated. Add the berries and toss until the berries are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Divide the pudding mixture between 8-ounce oven-safe ramekins. Place the ramekins in a large roasting pan and pour hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the egg mixture is set and a knife inserted into the puddings comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Carefully remove the ramekins from the hot water in the roasting pan. Let puddings cool for 15 minutes before serving. Top with whipped cream if using.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.