Caramel Apple Bread Pudding
5 cups stale bread, cut into 1″ cubes & dried out (challah or gluten free bread)
3 cups apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups light brown sugar
1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced
vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease or spray a 9×13″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the dried bread cubes and apples. Transfer to the greased baking dish.
In the same large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients except for the butter. Pour the mixture over the bread and apples. Push down on the bread cubes to soak in the milk mixture.
Allow the baking dish to sit for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours in order for the bread cubes to absorb the milk and egg mixture. If you plan to make this ahead of time and let it sit for up to 24 hours, cover dish with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.
When the milk and egg mixture has been absorbed, sprinkle the diced butter over the bread pudding and bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until the center is set but not dry or burned.
Remove from oven and allow to stand for at least 5-10 minutes before serving. Cut into serving pieces and serve with whipped cream, a drizzle of buttery caramel, or vanilla ice cream... or a combination of these three for something indulgent!
Pairs Well With
Caramel and apples are the season's best pairing! As long as I remember, I loved this time of year because back in grade school, we'd often have Affy Tapple Day. Affy Tapples are caramel apples that are a local treat made just outside of Chicago but are widely available all over the U.S. Every fall, my grade school would have a special Affy Tapple Day where students can order and purchase a caramel apple for $1.00. I remember saving up loose change my parents would give me days before the big day just to get a taste of those sweet caramel apples. Ah, sweet memories! With those fond memories in mind, I wanted to make something involving caramel and apples. My and my recent indulgent treat is this Caramel Apple Bread Pudding. By combining bread cubes, chopped apples, and sweet spices all baked in a rich custard then topped with caramel, you can have a taste of fall in one bite!
For this dessert, I used a combination of 2 gluten free breads - gluten free white sandwich bread and some leftover gluten free apple donut holes I made. Together, they served as the perfect balance of bread for this pudding. Of course, you're welcome to use any stale bread you have on hand but I would recommend a dried out challah bread specifically. Challah has this deliciously rich flavor that works beautifully in bread puddings. The key to the bread you use is that it's dried out so it can absorb the custard in this recipe. If it's not dried out, you can bake the bread cubes in a 325 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
As for the apples, feel free to use whatever apples you prefer. I'd recommend Golden Delicious, Jonagolds, or Braeburns since they're sweet and stand up to baking well. You can stick with one variety or even a combination too.
The original recipe called for apple pie spice but rather than buying another spice, I used a combination of spices I already had on hand. If you prefer the convenience of a ready made spice mix, use 2 teaspoons for this recipe in place of the cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cardamom.
Lastly, enjoy this with some tasty garnishes. It's certainly delicious on it's own but if you want to take it up a notch, serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, caramel sauce (homemade or store bought) and/or vanilla ice cream!