by Charlotte Taylor / Photography by Jamie Maldonado
As the holidays approach, so do precious memories of family, friends and fabulous food. Gathering around a cozy fire, with the smell of apples, cinnamon and vanilla in the air…ahhh the holidays. Savoring recipes that remind us of our childhood, those are the most comforting foods of all.
One great tradition that’s been passed down through generations is bread pudding…simple, classic, yet oh so easy. Ages ago, it originated as a way to use leftover or stale bread; modern versions have become much more luxurious. There are many variations of bread pudding, but all use a combination of milk, eggs, sugar, spices, a little bit of fruit (usually raisins), and of course, stale or toasted bread. Ingredients that are as simple as those days gone by. Even though our ancestors used stale or leftover bread to make their pudding, it doesn’t mean you have to. Any bread can become ‘stale’ with a warm oven in a very short amount of time. You can even get creative and use French bread (which is what this recipe originally called for), brioche, or if calories are not a problem, donuts! Yes, there is a recipe out there for Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding!
Are you wondering how stale bread mixed with ‘pudding’ (milk, sugar and eggs) can be so incredibly scrumptious? The thought of soaking bread in milk used to sound a bit unappetizing to me as well, but if you’ve ever had good bread pudding you won’t really care what it was soaked in!
The trick to making this recipe is in toasting the bread before preparing the ‘pudding’. Toasting not only helps remove any remaining moisture from your fresh OR stale bread, but it adds flavor to the final product as well. We also use apples in ours, instead of the traditional raisins. If you are a diehard raisin fan, by all means use raisins…we prefer apples. That’s the joy of cooking, be flexible with it and don’t be afraid to customize recipes to your liking.
Bread Pudding – What You Need:
- 10 slices of bread (or any assortment of breads or buns, fresh or stale)
- approx. 4 tablespoons butter (softened)
- approx. 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 large Granny Smith or Honey Crisp apple, (grated)
- 3 cups milk
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon of salt
Bread Pudding – What To Do:
1.) Preheat oven to 250.
2.) Lay bread pieces on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 30 minutes.
3.) Flip bread slices over and continue baking an additional 20-30 minutes until golden and crispy – similar to a crouton.
4.) Remove bread from oven and spread each slice with butter.
5.) Sprinkle the tops of each slice (heavy-handedly) with cinnamon.
6.) Using a serrated knife or an electric knife, slice the bread into 1 inch strips. Or crumble with your hands. Set aside.
7.) Spray a 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
8.) Scatter half of the sliced bread strips in the bottom of the baking dish and top with half of the grated apple.
9.) Repeat this process one more time. Set aside.
10.) In a microwaveable bowl, heat milk until almost scalding.
11.) In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, vanilla and eggs.
12.) Slowly combine milk with sugary/egg mixture whisking constantly.
13.) Gently pour mixture over toast strips. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed.
14.) Increase oven to 350 and bake 40-50 minutes or until slightly firm. (If the recipe is doubled, baking time should be increased as well.)
15.) Remove pudding from oven and serve warm. (approx. 9 servings)
Butter Sauce – What You Need:
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- 2 sticks butter
- 3 tablespoons whiskey or rum (optional)
Butter Sauce – What To Do:
1.) Place butter in a medium size heavy saucepan and melt on low heat.
2.) In the meanwhile, in a medium size bowl, beat eggs and sugar together using a hand mixer until light in color and a bit foamy.
3.) Slowly whisk egg mixture into warmed, melted butter. Continually stir on low heat until syrupy – approximately 20-30 minutes. This mixture will scorch, so trust me when I say, resist the urge to walk away.
4.) Slide mixture off the heat and quickly stir in 3 tablespoons of whiskey or rum. Be warned, when adding the alcohol the sauce will boil up, spit and sputter – so stir carefully with a long spoon and calm down, the alcohol will cook out.
5.) Continue stirring and keep warm to serving immediately.
Both can easily be made ahead of time and reheated in the microwave. The aroma of this bread pudding with apples and cinnamon is one memory you’ll want to relive again and again. ENJOY!