Friday, November 1, 2013

Fuji Apple & Caramel Bread Pudding

November is here! In case you missed its grand entrance of new brisk autumn air and warm colored leaves filling up your sidewalks, don't worry-- there's still plenty of pie to go around for this month to remind you of its presence and glory.

However, on this first day of the month, pie is the last thing on my mind. Sorry, pie, but bread has taken over my life (and pants if I don't do something about it fast). I've made plenty of bread in October, in school and at home for practice. Things have started to get pretty doughy around here and all I have been craving is a big, big, bowl of greens!
This morning I was about to toss the leftovers of soft yeast dinner rolls I made to prepare for my baking midterm. However, in the land of bread, this would have been unheard of. To say farewell to the bread making in my kitchen for awhile, and ring in this new month, I turned my little bread buddies into a very simple, but elegant and delicious plated dessert.
A few months ago, Henry and I had the most delightful caramel apple bread pudding at the Bouchon Bistro in Las Vegas (Ceasar's Palace). This not only served as an instant bond between my food and I, but it also became the inspiration behind this Fuji Apple and Caramel Bread Pudding.

The original dish was soaked in maple syrup, but since I wanted something a little more tart and fresh, I left that out.  However, if you plan to make this at home, you could certainly drizzle some over the top for another flavor component (yum!).

Caramel and apple are such classic flavor pairings, but this particular version really stands out to me. Usually, Granny Smith takes the stage with baked desserts; since this doesn't have any cooked apples, the fresh Fuji slices can hang out with the big kids. The sweet and more floral apple notes are a lovely change to the more tart green apples.

I hope you try these, because I know you'll enjoy them, too!

Fuji Apple & Caramel Bread Pudding
serves 4

4 cups of leftover bread rolls (1/2" dice)
1/2 cup egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp grated apple (use a micro grater and grate the flesh of an apple wedge)
1 medium sized Fuji apple, cored and thinly sliced (1/8")
caramel sauce (to drizzle as desired)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
2. Grease a 9x13" baking pan or dish with cooking spray or butter.
3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, whipping cream, almond milk, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, lemon zest, and grated apple.
4. Add the diced bread into the milk and egg mixture; use a spatula to gently fold and combine everything together.
5. Pour the bread pudding mixture into the baking pan. Spread everything out evenly (the layer should be no more than 1" high).
6. Bake for about 45 minutes - 1 hour, or until the sides and edges are crisp and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes before assembling.

To Assemble:
1. Use a 3" biscuit cutter to cut out 12 circles out of the bread pudding-- you will need 3 circles for each portion.
2. Place one circle on a plate, add a little drizzle of caramel, and 2 thin slices of apple. Repeat this layering. On the final circle (the top), fan out 3 slices of apple. Drizzle caramel sauce around the plate as desired. Serve immediately.

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