Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

As I said last week, bread pudding is fast becoming a dessert favorite of mine.  I seized the opportunity to try another recipe for New Years Eve and went to Martha again.  She did not disappoint!  The caramel sauce is divine, I’d like to eat it with a spoon.  I halved Martha’s recipe to prevent just that!  You should make this, and soon.

You will need:
2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled and cut into matchsticks
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
12-ounce loaf brioche, cut into 1″ cubes
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cinnamon
1 cup heavy cream + 1/4 cup powdered sugar (for whipped cream topping)

Heat oven to 325°. Place apples in a small bowl, toss with lemon juice and set aside. Butter a large baking dish and set it inside a large roasting pan.  In a large bowl, whisk together cream, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and nutmeg/cinnamon. Add brioche, and toss to coat.

Generously drizzle caramel sauce (recipe below) into the bottom of the baking dish. Add approximately 1/3 cup apple mixture, then 1/3 cup bread mixture. Add a second layer of sauce, apple, and bread.  Repeat until all ingredients (leave at least 1/4 cup of caramel sauce for serving) are used.  Cover dish tightly with foil.

Carefully place the roasting pan on the center oven rack. Using a large measuring cup, fill roasting pan with hot water to about half way up the sides of the baking dish – this promotes even cooking and prevents cracking of the pudding.  Cook 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook 25 minutes more. Remove roasting pan from the oven, and remove the baking dish to let cool for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar for the whipped cream topping.

Scoop out portions and serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream and caramel sauce drizzled on top!

For the Caramel Bourbon Vanilla Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons bourbon

Combine sugar and 1/2 cup water in a 2-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Without stirring, cook mixture until dark amber in color, swirling the pan carefully while cooking, about 15 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low. Slowly add cream, stirring with a wooden spoon. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the pan, and add the pod. Add lemon juice, butter, and bourbon. Stir to combine.  Pour into a jar and store, refrigerated, up to 1 week. Bring sauce to room temperature, or warm over low heat, before using.

serves: 8
time: sauce – 30 min / bread pudding – 20 min + 1 hour baking/cooling time
adapted from: Martha Stewart

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