Saturday, October 20, 2012

Autumn Apple Pie Bread Pudding

To download a cookbook-style copy of the recipe for Autumn Apple Pie Bread Pudding, click HERE.

It’s no wonder bread pudding is made in some version or other throughout the world. In addition to being one of the easiest, great-tasting desserts you can make, it’s also one of the most versatile. In past Kissing the Cook postings, we’ve explored a peach-flavored bread pudding, and one that is French Toast flavored. This week we’re going in an appropriately seasonal direction: a reduced-fat Autumn Apple Pie Bread Pudding.

For anyone not yet familiar with bread pudding, it’s not exactly the same as French Toast, but if you’ve made French Toast there’s a lot about making bread pudding that will feel very familiar. Stale or lightly toasted chunks of bread, often a sweet bread, are soak in a custard, spices are added, and the whole thing is baked until soft and firm. A sweet topping, usually ice cream or a sweet sauce, is added for serving. There’s a lot of room for creativity in the combinations of bread and flavorings used. (I’ve even heard of some brave souls who use donuts to make their bread puddings.)

Some Cook’s Notes before we begin:
  • Bread Pudding is usually baked in a baking dish and cut into squares or circles for serving. In keeping with the apple pie theme of the one we’ll be making, we’ll make ours in pie pans and cut into wedges to serve. 
  • In the recipe below, I used the challah bread with raisins and apricots recently posted here. Any sweet bread, though, should work well. 
  • In addition to the other fat-reduction ingredients used, the Bread Pudding below is topped with fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. 
  • Similar to the apple pies that inspired this recipe, there’s some flexibility in the choice of apples. Granny Smith’s are often used for apple pies and work well here too. In this recipe, I went with a combination of Granny Smith and Honey Crisp.

This recipe makes two 9” round bread puddings.

The first two steps – preparing the bread and making the custard – can be done when you’re ready to make the bread pudding, but are better if done the day before.

Cut 1 pound of challah or other sweet bread into 1” pieces. Leave out overnight to get stale or, if you’re in a hurry, toast lightly.

Combine the custard ingredients in a container: 2 cups fat-free half-and-half; 4 egg-substitute eggs; 2 Tbsp sugar; ¼ cup light brown; sugar; 1/2 tsp salt; pinch nutmeg; pinch ground cinnamon; 1/2 cup low-fat (or fat-free) plain yogurt. The custard can be used right away, but it’s better if it rests overnight.

When the bread and custard are ready to be used:

Begin preheating the oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and core 2 pounds of apples. Mash enough for about ¾ cup.

Slice the remainder into ¼” thick slices.

Fold the mashed apples into the custard.

Divide the bread evenly into two buttered 9” pie pans.

Divide the custard evenly into the two pie pans, and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes to let the bread absorb the liquid, occasionally pressing gently on the bread to help it absorb the custard.

Cover each pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes. When done, remove the foil and   bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes to get a little browning.

While the bread puddings are baking, prepare the apple topping as follows:

Combine ¾ cup sugar and the juice of 1 lemon in a medium saucepan. When the sugar and juice are combined, begin heating the saucepan over low heat until the mixture has melted.

Add the sliced apples, a pinch of nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt, and 1 Tbsp of butter substitute to the saucepan and stir until all the apple slices are coated with the sugar mixture.

Increase the heat to medium-low. Cook the apples till they are pie-filling tender, then remove from heat until needed.

To serve:
Cut the finished bread pudding into wedges while still warm. Top with fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt or low fat vanilla ice cream, and some warm apple topping as in the photo at top. Serve immediately.

To download a cookbook-style copy of the recipe for Autumn Apple Pie Bread Pudding, click HERE.
Of course, you can enjoy this special dessert any time, but fall seems such a special time for apples!

You’ll find another easy, delicious recipe here next week, so please come by again! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)

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