Make a delicious rustic apple bread pudding in just a few easy steps.
Go straight to the Recipe Card or read on for relevant tips and step by step pictures of the workflow (2 mins).
Whether you chose to bake it in a single large dish and serve it family style or prepare several individual portions (in ramekins or other small baking dishes) this apple bread pudding will prove to be a delicious dessert option with a touch of rustic elegance. I promise.
All you have to do is whip up a custard, add it to diced apples and bread cubes (possibly some raisins, or walnuts, or caramel chips…) and bake!
Bread. Go with a sweeter bread with a porous texture. Top contenders here are brioche, challah and sweet rolls (such as Hawaiian rolls). It is important that you let the bread lose some of its moisture before making the pudding – it will be better suited to absorb the custard.
Apples. Go with a mealy, cooking apple for best results. Moderately juicy, with a balance between sweet and tart. The apples in the pictures and video are Gala, select a similar type that will maintain its texture (try this list).
Butter. You will need a little butter to grease the baking dish for the pudding and also to saute the apples prior to folding them into the pudding.
Brown sugar. For its deeper flavor (as compared to that of regular sugar).
Eggs. Use large eggs, they form the base of your custard and help the pudding set.
Apple cider. This is truly the star of the show! You will add it to the custard and in result every single bit of bread will be infused with apple essence. So much better than using milk. That being said, you can always substitute with apple juice or milk.
Heavy whipping cream. Key role in the custard.
Vanilla and cinnamon. For added flavor.
Nuts, raisins or caramel chips. You do not have to use any of these or you can use a combination. They do contribute to the overall texture of the bread pudding in addition to their own individual flavors of course.
Apple Bread Pudding Workflow
There are only two things I want to emphasize in an otherwise straight forward process.
(1) make sure your bread is dry so it can absorb the delicious custard well
(2) allow the pudding enough time before you bake it for said absorption to happen slowly. You will be glad you did.
- Start by cutting your bread into cubes with a serrated knife. Make them just over an inch large. Do not worry about perfect shapes.
- If you have time, let the bread cubes dry on the counter – place them in a colander for better air access and cover with a clean breathable towel.
- If you are short on time, turn your oven on to the lowest setting, place the bread onto a baking sheet and let it oven dry for about 15-20 minutes.
Once you have dry bread cubes you can proceed with the apples and the custard. The goal is to soften the apples a little bit (see last picture in the grid above).
- Peel and dice your apples – just a tad smaller than the bread. Melt some butter in a skillet, add the apples, any nuts or raisins you’d like to use, a bit of brown sugar and a bit of cinnamon.
- Cook for a couple of minutes on medium and stir to make sure the apple bits are nicely coated with the caramel goodness of the butter and sugar. Then set aside.
After you have completed the prep work it is time to assemble and bake.
- Butter a deep baking dish, about 9 x 13 in size (you might need a small spill over dish for extra bread and custard if you end up using a round casserole dish or similar) or butter individual baking dishes, your choice. Be generous with the butter.
- Transfer the bread cubes to the dish, add the apples (and any nuts, raisins) or if using caramel chips sprinkle those around. Using your hands mix the mixture so that everything is distributed more or less evenly.
- Pour the custard all over the bread and apples and allow about 30-45 minutes for the bread to fully absorb it. This step is key to a perfectly cooked apple bread pudding.
- Bake in a 350 F oven. About 20 minutes in the bread pudding will begin to rise and threaten to escape the dish – it won’t:)
TIP: It is very helpful to place the baking dish (or smaller individual dishes) containing the pudding onto a cookie sheet. Not only does this make transferring in and out of the oven easier, but as the bread pudding raises any mess created in the process will be contained and much easier to clean up.
Before you serve allow the pudding to cool down for at least 10 minutes and closer to 30 for best results. It really depends on the material of your baking dish and whether you placed it over a cooling rack or simply on top of the stove. Serve it while still warm.
A purist, nothing added portion of warm apple bread pudding is already a treat on its own, but should you decide to dress it up a bit these are a few sweet ways to do it.
- a dusting of confectioners sugar, perhaps with a pinch of cinnamon mixed in it
- a drizzle of honey or maple syrup
- a drizzle of caramel sauce
- a scoop of vanilla or caramel ice cream
- a drizzle of warm vanilla sauce, perhaps with a bit of bourbon in it… (on that note see our quick recipe below)
Vanilla (Bourbon) Sauce for Apple Bread Pudding
For an extra decadent dessert drizzle each serving of apple bread pudding with warm vanilla (bourbon) sauce. Great option for a dinner party – make the pudding in individual dishes, reheat just before serving and serve with the sauce.
HOW TO MAKE IT: In a saucepan combine 1/2 cup each of: butter, sugar, brown sugar and heavy cream. Bring to boil over medium heat while stirring occasionally. Once the sauce reaches a full boil stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract and (optional) 1 tbsp of bourbon. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving boat or other appropriate container. Leftover sauce can be stored refrigerated.
Other Recipes You Might Like
- 14 oz of sweetish, porous bread such as brioche, challah, Hawaiian rolls
- 3 apples, about medium sized, such as Gala
- 1/2 stick butter + about 2 tbsp to grease baking dish
- 1 cup pecans, walnuts, raisins, caramel chips (optional, could be a combination*)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup + 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 6 eggs, large
- 8-10 oz apple cider (substitute with apple juice or milk)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Cut the bread into cubes, about an inch large and if the bread is not already dry, let the cubes dry out.*
2. Peel and dice the apples. Set aside.
3. Using a 2 tbsp butter lump grease the inside of a 9x13 baking dish (or something of similar size and volume) or 10 smaller 1 cup ramekins. Set aside.
4. In a skillet over medium heat melt the 1/2 stick butter, add the diced apples, pecans (or other nuts or raisins), cinnamon and 3 tbsp brown sugar. Mix and saute the apples until they soften a bit (3-4 minutes). Set aside.
5. Beat the eggs, whisk in the 1 cup sugar, then the apple cider (or substitute), then the heavy cream and vanilla. Set aside.
6. Place the bread inside the buttered baking dish, add the softened apples and pecans (if using caramel chips, scatter them on top at this time). Mix using your hands to distribute the different pieces evenly. Pour the custard over the mixture. Let it soak for about 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 350 F.
7. Place the baking dish(es) with the apple bread pudding onto a cookie sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
If you are making individual portions adjust the baking time downwards to 15-20 minutes. Monitor the edges and top and using a toothpick test that the custard has set.
Allow the pudding to cool down a bit before serving.***
8. Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of honey, vanilla sauce etc. or a scoop of ice cream.
* To dry the bread cubes either place them in a colander with a clean towel on top and leave them on the counter for a couple of hours or scatter them over a cookie sheet and place them in a warm oven for 15 to 20 minutes (use the lowest oven setting, do not let them turn into toast:).
**If using caramel chips add them directly to the pudding, do not add them to the apples while you are sauteing them in the skillet.
***You can make the apple bread pudding ahead of time and warm it in the oven prior to serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 478 Total Fat: 34g Saturated Fat: 15g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 16g Cholesterol: 186mg Sodium: 360mg Carbohydrates: 78g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 45g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 12g