Apple Bread Pudding

I don't often cook from recipes printed in the newspaper; I'm a blog person. But I was flipping through Boston Globe Magazine on an empty stomach a few weeks ago, and the gorgeous photograph of this bread pudding jumped out at me. This recipe uses 4 pounds of apples, so with a bushel of pick-your-own apples languishing in my kitchen, this weekend was the perfect time to try it.

The preparation time for this bread pudding was a solid 90 minutes, so it's not an everyday recipe by any means, but wow. It's really good. I'm a big bread pudding fan, but it is so often mediocre (too dry, too sweet) that I'm almost scared to try new versions. I'm really glad I tried this version.

Normally when I make apple pie, I aim for a 5-1 ratio of red apples (like cortland) to green apples (granny smith). As written, this recipe calls for a similar ratio. This time, I used what I had picked, which was a mixture of mysterious red and green apple varieties that definitely included golden russet and macoun.

Apple Bread Pudding

  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1 lb loaf challah bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 quart half and half
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 4 lbs apples, peeled, 3 lbs peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces, 1 lb grated
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and lemon zest. Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Slice the challah and add the slices to a food processor in batches. Pulse the bread briefly to grind it into a mix of approximately 1 inch pieces along with smaller crumbs. Add the bread pieces to a large baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, stirring at least once, to dry the bread out.
  3. Meanwhile, in a very large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and half and half. Add the vanilla and salt. Set aside 2 cups of the bread pieces, then add the remaining bread to the bowl and submerge it fully. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes.
  4. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in the pan and sauté the 1 inch apple pieces until softened, approximately 10 minutes. Add the brown sugar and the remaining 1 tsp of cinnamon. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Stir the sautéed apples and the raw, grated apples into the bread and cream mixture. Add to a greased 4 qt casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining 2 cups of bread pieces across the top of the pudding. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter and drizzle over the top. Finally, sprinkle the lemon sugar over the top of the pudding. Bake for 55 to 110 minutes until set. Allow to cool before serving.

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