I find nothing more comforting than bread pudding. I have fond memories of my Granny’s bread pudding – it wasn’t something I remember her making often and it was certainly one of the few things I remember her making that wasn’t a recipe on the back of a package, which is probably why it ranks so high on my comfort food meter. Whenever I have a sizable amount of stale bread laying about, particularly home baked loaves, I am inspired to make a bread pudding. Over the years, I’ve come up with my own recipes for chocolate bread pudding (sweet) and vegetable bread pudding (savory), but the other night I wanted to make an apple bread pudding to help use up the remains of a bushel of apples sitting around the house.
I sifted through ALL my cookbooks, looking for an apple bread pudding recipe – the Original Moosewood cookbook had one, but the apples were grated and I wanted more of a chunky apple. I found absolutely nothing that matched what I was picturing in my head, so after a quick google search, I set out to come up with my own recipe. With inspiration from a few sources, including my late 1980’s Betty Crocker cookbook, Original Moosewood, and Epicurious, I managed to put together an apple bread pudding that (mostly) matched what I had pictured in my head.
While deemed a success by my taste testers (Pat and Edie), I found it lacking on the pudding part and could use more eggs and milk. The pan disappeared in record time however – quicker than an apple crisp OR a pie, so clearly my opinion was in the minority here. I used whole wheat sourdough bread, which may have been why it soaked up the liquid so thoroughly. Clearly I’ll have to continue to experiment with this recipe. I found a few recipes that used applesauce in addition to apples and that might be nice too. The pudding made a wonderful dessert paired with butter pecan ice cream, but served alone, was an excellent breakfast. I imagine yogurt or whipped cream would be delightful with this as well. Either way, this recipe is a pretty good launching pad to experiment with.
Apple Bread Pudding
Peel and chop apples – about 3 cups. Sauté in butter, adding liquid (water, cider or bourbon) to keep apples from sticking to the pan, sprinkling with about 2 tablespoons sugar.
Combine 1/4 cup butter, 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup sugar and a healthy dash of bourbon (or vanilla) in saucepan and bring to scalding.
Combine 2 eggs with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Beat well.
Combine apples with about 6 cups of cubed, stale bread. Add egg mixture, then milk. Stir to ensure all the bread is moistened, then pour into greased casserole dish. Place in water bath (a larger baking pan with a few inches of water) and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.
Note: If you’d like, another cup of milk and egg can be added to result in a creamier version.