Last year for Thanksgiving, I made my very first bread pudding. I know, what an odd choice for a Thankgiving dessert, but when you dealing with a french toast afficianado. I assumed that it would the best thing since, excuse the pun, sliced bread.
But, alas, Deb’s pumpkin bread pudding was an EPIC fail.
I’ve never hated something I’ve made before in my life, but I literally wanted to toss that damn pan of sickness out the window. Good thing I had a dessert contingency plan or else I would’ve been one grumpy girl. It was not Deb’s fault; hers turned out gorgeous. Mine was just sick.
Ever since then, I’ve stayed away from bread pudding. I figured I was just one of those people who didn’t enjoy bread soaked in a smooth, silky custard then baked till soft to the touch. Oh, how silly I was. How could I have wasted a year not enjoying the rapture that bread pudding evokes? I plan on making up for lost time though, especially after finding this Apple Raisin Bread Pudding recipe.
All of my friends who tasted this couldn’t believe that something so simple and basic could be so damn tasty. I think if left to their own devices, they would’ve eaten the entire pan with their grubby hands. Good thing I regulated or else I wouldn’t have had a chance to sample a slice myself.
After my failed attempt, I knew that I had to perfect the art of bread pudding because it just didn’t make sense that I wouldn’t love this dessert. First of all, unlike my virginal try, I used an 8×8 square baking pan instead of a 9×13 pan, which made for a thicker bread pudding. And wow! What a difference. Instead of being thin and droopy, this bread pudding was thick and soft, with pockets of cinnamon and vanilla custard. I liked the contrast between the firm top and slightly soggy middle, but if you prefer a more solid bread pudding, you might want to use a bigger pan.
Now that is what I call bread pudding. Thick slices of cinnamon-raisin bread, soaked with vanilla custard, with sweet apples and raisins scattered about. Are you drooling yet?
This time around, I underbaked mine, unlike the other attempt when I baked it till it was almost too solid. It should jiggle, yet not dance when you move it. Does that make sense? Jiggle, not wiggle. Lastly, the apples just took this dessert to another level. I adore pumpkin, but the smell of apples baking in my kitchen is enough to render me in to a babylike trance. Being a lazy baker, I left my skins on my gala apples but feel free to peel them naked if you want. Also, if you prefer a little booze in your bread (who doesn’t?!), you could add in some dark rum or Frangelico to the custard mix. That’s right, grab that booze and go to town.
So, if you haven’t plotted out your Thanksgiving dinner yet (you’ve only got 4 days!), might I suggest this dessert? Not only will it leave you with extra time to mingle since this dish can be assembled pretty quickly, but you will become Miss Popularity, I swear. While it’s baking, you can embrace your inner hostess and mingle with your guests, knowing that your fail-proof dessert will emerge warm and perfect in about an hour. Your guests will be begging for the recipe and you will shrug slyly, knowing that you literally spent no time making this awe-inspired dessert.
Now that I am bread pudding follower, I’m anxious to try out more recipes. Got any tips or recipes I should try? Leave them in the comment section and I will giddily get cracking!
Apple Raisin Bread Pudding
Origin: Bon Appetit, April 2001
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 65 minutes
● 2 cups whole milk
● 1 cup sugar
● 4 large eggs
● 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
● 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
● 1/8 teaspoon salt
● 7 slices crustless white bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
● 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
● 2/3 cup raisins
● Additional ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8 x 8-inch glass baking dish. Whisk first 6 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread, apple, and raisins. Pour batter into prepared dish.
Bake pudding 30 minutes. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Bake pudding until top is golden and center is set, about 35 minutes longer.
Spoon pudding into bowls. Top with vanilla ice cream and serve.