Apple Bread Pudding
A simple bread pudding is the foundation for many different flavors. Substitute dried cherries or apricots for the dried apples. Or, omit the apples, currants, cinnamon and nutmeg and add 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips.
- 4 thick slices day-old challah or other egg bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
- 1 cup roughly chopped dried apples
- 2 Tbs. dried currants or raisins
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
Preheat an oven to 325°F. Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish.
Scatter the bread cubes evenly in the prepared dish. Top evenly with the apples and currants.
In a large bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, 2 tsp. of the cinnamon and the nutmeg until smooth. Slowly pour the custard mixture over the bread and fruits.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1 tsp. cinnamon and the granulated sugar. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the pudding. Bake until the top is lightly browned and the bread cubes on the top are crisp, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven, let cool for about 20 minutes and serve warm. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Desserts, by Elinor Klivans (Oxmoor House, 2007).