Cake or Death?
to make her choice of
Apple-Apple Bread Pudding
Apple-Apple Bread Pudding gets its double apple name by including both apple slices that are caramelized and store-bought spiced apple butter.
Layers of rich challah bread spread with the apple butter along with the carmelized apples are baked in sweetened milk and cream. The result is a delicious dessert, especially good served warm with whipped cream or even ice-cream!
From Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
3 medium apples, peeled and cored (Fuji or Gala recommended)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp sugar
12 oz egg bread, such as challah or brioche, sliced 1/2″ thick and stale
1 cup store-bought spiced apple butter [I used more like 2 cups]
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
5 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar or apple jelly, for finishing
Getting Ready: Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan (like Pyrex), dust the inside with sugar and tap out the excess. Line a larger roasting pan with a double thickness of paper towels.
To Caramelize the Apples: Cut each apple into small chunks. Put a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter, and, when it melts, sprinkle over the sugar. Cook the butter and sugar for a minute or so–you want the sugar to caramelize but not burn, so adjust the heat accordingly. Toss in the apple slices–don’t worry if the caramel seizes and lumps, it will melt and smooth out as you work–and cook, carefully turning the apples once or twice, until they are tender but not soft, 3-5 minutes. They should be golden, and some might even be caramelized. Remove from the heat.
To Make the Bread Pudding: If your bread is not stale, spread it out on a baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 10 minutes to “stale” it.
Spread one side of each slice of bread with the apple butter, then cut each slice on the diagonal to get 4 triangles. cover the bottom of the baking pan with half of the bread, arranging the triangles, buttered side up, so that they overlap slightly (don’t worry about spaces between the slices.) Spoon over the apples and their liquid and finish “the sandwich” with the rest of the bread.
Bring the milk and cream just to a boil.
Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, and the 3/4 cup sugar. Still whisking, slowly drizzle in about one quarter of the hot milk mixture–this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining milk. Add the vanilla and whisk to blend. Rap the bowl against the counter to pop any bubbles that might have formed, then spoon off any foam that has risen to the top. Pour the custard over the bread and press the bread gently with the back of a spoon to help it absorb the liquid. Leave the pan on the counter, giving the bread the back-of-the-spoon treatment now and then, for about 30 minutes.
Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Put the baking pan in the roasting pan, slide the setup into the oven and very carefully pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the pudding pan. Bake the pudding for about 1 hour and 25 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
The pudding can be served as is or dusted with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. Or, if you want to give the pudding a little gloss, put about 1/2 cup apple jelly in a small pot with a splash of water. Heat until the jelly becomes liquid, then brush a thin layer over the top of the pudding.