Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Bread Pudding...My Way

It has been my experience that I cook I am adventurous but I bake from memory. I very often share and gear toward what I know and am comfortable with when I bake. When I venture out on a new culinary adventure, I do it on the savory side of the kitchen. This may be for a couple of reasons. Baking is harder. It is an exact science most of the time. The components all have to gel together so that "it comes up right" or is "sweet enough"  or isn't "too runny" etc...I bake safely. I follow recipes when I have to, I don't experiment with things I haven't tried too often, because the anxiety is too much for me. I have all the drama I want with The Real Housewives and General Hospital...whew....Who needs more pressure than Dante getting shot AGAIN?1!?!
I love the ability to go back to my roots and make my favorite comfort Pastry and know it is going to be Fabulous! 
Today I share with you my family's recipe for Bread Pudding. I emphasize "My Family's" recipe because there are a million recipes for Bread Pudding. This recipe is a no muss no fuss "fool proof" recipe, that can be varied in taste by changing the components without messing it up. I love that kind of recipe!
My Mom and i ran a restaurant in Punta Gorda Florida for a while and she was always so dismayed when we had leftover bread products. She never understood why we had to carry so many different types of Bread. We used Rye, Wheat, White, Hawaiian, Portuguese Sweetbread, Italian baguette, Not to mention, hamburger, hot dog and "hoagie" rolls. One afternoon she came out from the back and said "Taste this"..(her favorite words)
It was Great! She had made a Giant Bread Pudding with a combination of all of the leftover bread. It was fantastic! So, Like I said...this is fool proof. 

Cinnamon Apple Bread Pudding


Ingredients:

8 Eggs
4 Cups of Milk (try to use whole milk, 2% at least. Thinner milk will make it too wet)
1 1/2 cups Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Lemon Juice
6 Cups Bread (cubed)
2 cups Diced Apple (about 4 medium Apples) 
1/4 cup Cinnamon
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 tbsp cold Butter

Grease a Baking Vessel
*note: The Deeper the vessel, the longer the baking time*
I sometimes use a nice deep large Souffle dish for flair, but as I said it takes alot longer to bake.

Preheat Oven to 375° f

Prep:
Slice Bread into Cubes (not too small, a little bigger than crouton size)
Core and Dice Apples (sprinkle with lemon juice if desired to reduce oxidizing)
Cut butter into Brown Sugar (set aside)

Instructions:

Beat Eggs and Sugar, until Sugar has dissolved and you obtain the consistency of ribbons.
Add Milk, Vanilla, Lemon and Salt. Beat until well combined.
Add cubed bread to Egg (custard) mixture.
Combine and set aside for 30 minutes to allow bread to soak up custard.
After 30 minutes, Sprinkle mixture with half of the cinnamon.(1/8 cup / 2 tbsp)
Combine.
Add Apples. 
Combine Mixture Well.

Pour Mixture into Prepared Baking Vessel.
Add remaining Cinnamon to Brown Sugar and Butter.
Sprinkle Brown Sugar Mixture over the top of Bread Mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. (9x13 pan) 
If using deeper pan continue baking until inserted skewer comes out clean
**If bread pudding starts to take on too much color before bottom is baked through, cover with foil.
Enjoy!








Variations:
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Instead of Apples
Add Pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie Spice.

Traditional Portuguese Bread Pudding
Exchange Craisins, or Raisins for Apples.

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding:
Bananas in this would be great, just be sure to use some on top too as a Bananas Foster type of Bread Pudding.

Chocolate Bread Pudding:
Add 1/4 Cup Cocoa to the custard and eliminate the Cinnamon from the top.
Top with Brown Sugar, Butter, Cocoa and Chocolate Chips! Wow what a decadent delight.

Fabulous Dinner Party Dessert:
Pour warm Cooked Vanilla Pudding  over the Plain Bread Pudding (no apples or brown sugar topping) and top with a little Fresh Fruit and Whipped Cream.

Update: 10-07-13
This weekend at the Farmer's Market I shared this bread pudding (a little zshushed up) with the Masses.
Their Delicious Heat Defying Outrageous Caramel Apple Bread Pudding was a Hit (It sold out!).

Here are the Additional steps for that Bread pudding:
Prepare the bread pudding as seen above, only sprinkle the top with a few of the diced apple pieces & Pour a Can of Sweetened Condensed milk over the top of them.
Then bake as directed.
When it done and you remove it from the oven, Douse the top with a Really good Caramel Sauce. I use Ghirardelli when I don't make my own. In this case I made my own because the preparations for the Farmer's Market are all HOMEMADE nothing processed (except the a/p flour).
Hope you all enjoy as much as the customers did! It was superbly divine!