Apple Bread Pudding with Apple Brandy Sauce – a wonderfully comforting dessert with a spongy, custardy middle, layers of soft brandy spiked apples and a crispy top. Don’t forget the drizzle with Apple Brandy Sauce – total apple heaven!
Why does it seem that the best recipes are often the most homely? When I look at a well made bread pudding, I often think it looks like a bowl of croutons. How could this have loads of flavor, and be a completely satisfying, delicious dessert? I don’t know but it works!
Bread pudding, both sweet and savory, has a long history as the best way to use up stale bread. Nobody likes to waste food, and hopefully that will never change. Different types of bread yield different results but the method is often the same. Toast or dry out cubes of bread, then soak them in an egg mixture before baking. This pudding is made with challah, a traditional Jewish bread with a slightly sweet eggy flavor. A nice loaf of brioche would work well here too. Many bread puddings include raisins or other dried fruits. But to change things up, I layered this pudding with diced apples, simmered with a little apple brandy.
Have you ever seen those bread puddings that look wet and runny and hardly recognizable? Not this bread pudding. The layers are soft and the top is slightly crunchy, and the flavor is out of this world delicious. If you’ve ever wondered if you’d like bread pudding, let this be your first. Served slightly warm, it’s fantastic with ice cream or our favorite Apple Brandy Sauce.
Okay maybe a little extra Apple Brandy Sauce for me. It’s not a thick sauce, but it’s absolutely perfect poured over this pudding. The sauce soaks up into the bread, and well, you’re going to love it.
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- 1 1lb loaf challah, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and diced
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons apple brandy
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 4 cups half & half
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons coarse sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- Apple Brandy Sauce or ice cream for serving
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place the challah cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes stirring halfway through. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Grease a 13x9-inch baking dish (or two smaller casserole dishes) and set aside.
While the bread is toasting, prepare the apple mixture. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add the apples, granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are softened, about 15 minutes. Add the apple brandy and stir until the sauce is syrupy, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Layer half the toasted bread cubes in the prepared pan. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out half the apples and spread evenly over the bread. Add the remaining bread to the pan, then top with the remaining drained apples. Reserve the apple juices and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl (with a spout if you have it), whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, half & half, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt. Add the reserved juices from the apples, and whisk again to combine.
Slowly pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread and apples. Gently press down on the bread mixture using the back of a spatula to ensure all pieces are moistened. Allow the mixture to soak for 15-20 minutes. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil from the pudding, drizzle with 2 tablespoons melted butter, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons coarse sugar. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 30 minutes (or more) before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Serve with Apple Brandy Sauce or ice cream if desired.
A delicious, creamy vanilla sauce with apple brandy
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 3 tablespoons apple brandy (like Calvados)
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until slightly thickened and lighter in color. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat just until steaming but not boiling.
Slowly drizzle/pour half the warm milk into the yolk mixture while whisking continuously. This method of tempering the eggs will keep them from scrambling.
Pour the now warm yolk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. This will only take a few minutes.
Place a medium mixing bowl over an ice bath (place the medium bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice). Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve set over the bowl. Add the vanilla bean paste and stir to combine. Continue stirring the mixture until it cools. Add the apple brandy and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
The sauce is not terribly thick but should be smooth.
Adapted from a recipe published April 2010 on Epicurious.com
Here are a few tools we used when making this Apple Bread Pudding: (each photo is clickable)
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Apple season is here! Woohoo! We love baking and cooking with seasonal fruits, and apples are so versatile and delicious. We have some terrific apple recipes in the SRFD archives like this tasty Irish Apple Crumble Cake also served with a creamy Apple Brandy Sauce. Don’t miss everybody’s favorite Classic Double Crust Apple Pie and this old-fashioned Apple Pandowdy, so easy to make in a skillet! We love these Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Cider Glaze for a super special breakfast or brunch. Another wonderful dessert is this simple Apple, Cranberry & Currant Crumb Pie – perfect for the holiday season.
As you can see, we love our apple recipes and there are plenty more – just search apple and see what comes up! Here are a few wonderful recipes from some amazing bloggers:
- Brown Sugar Apple Bread Recipe ~ from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Maple Apple Walnut Cake ~ from Inside BruCrew Life
- Apple Butter Recipe for the Crock Pot ~ from Amanda’s Cookin’
- Baked Breakfast Apples ~ from The View from Great Island
- Old Fashioned Apple Crisp ~ from Barefeet in the Kitchen
That should get you started with fall baking – hehe. I just love this time of year, hope you do too. Thanks so much for stopping by!