Once in a great while I just have to make something sweetly ooey-gooey delicious (and, um, fattening), not just to satisfy a personal craving, but also to assure Mr CC that I've still got the chops. Plus, lucky him, he gets to eat (most of) the results.
So, this here before you is a moist, creamy, crusty, raisin-walnut-apple-y, boozey bread pudding that I defy even the staunchest dieter to resist: It's got sugar but not too much; it's got cream but just enough to make your belly grin; it's got toasted, challah-like cinnamon-apple bread (mine was locally produced. Plain challah would be fine as would any sturdy bread but you may have to up the sweetness a bit); it's got fresh, chunked up apples, and it's got a tipple of bourbon - just because.
I won't lie; one of my favorite celebrity chefs (and I don't have many), Michael Symon, made a version of this and I've adapted that recipe for myself. And you.
Plan ahead for this one; there is some refrigeration time before baking.
Apple-Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Fresh Apples
Adapted from Michael Symon's Sunday Suppers
1 loaf cinnamon-apple bread - cut into 1-inch cubes, toasted, makes 6-8 cups
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
unsalted butter for the dish
6 large eggs or 12 ounces (my chickens lay very large eggs so I measure by volume)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream (plus more for serving - optional)
1/3 cup Splenda/Sugar Blend or 2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon great bourbon such as Maker's Mark
1 teaspoon good vanilla
1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (preferably organic Saigon)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on several baking sheets. Bake in the oven until golden brown, shaking the pan several times so it won't burn. You may have to switch the pans around to avoid oven hot spots. Remove croutons from oven and allow to cool completely.
Butter an eight to ten-cup dish, rectangular or round, and set aside.
Peel, core and dice the apples, placing them in a large bowl. As you work, sprinkle the diced apples with lemon juice as they layer up in the bowl; this will keep them from getting discolored.
When the croutons are cool, place them in the baking dish topped with the diced apples. Toss briefly to lightly mix.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until well blended. Whisk in the bourbon.
Pour the egg mixture over the crouton-apple mixture, pushing the croutons into the custard as much as possible (they will pop up of their own accord anyway, so what you want to do is get them moistened). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours, occasionally pushing the croutons into the custard.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the pudding-filled baking dish inside of a larger roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with hot water so it comes halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
Place the whole thing into the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the pudding.
Allow the pudding to cool to just warm or room temperature.
Spoon several tablespoons of heavy cream onto a dessert plate and top with a scoop of warm bread pudding. Drizzle a bit more cream over the pudding and serve immediately.
- Or -
While the pudding is baking, whip some heavy cream, adding a bit of sugar and a few teaspoons of bourbon, until stiff peaks form. Keep chilled. Top pudding with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon just before serving.
To refrigerate leftovers, don't cover with plastic wrap which will cause condensation to form which will water the top of the pudding. Instead loosely drape with parchment paper.
Copyright © 2005-2012, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved