Maple Apple Bread Pudding
October 18th 2012 · 0 Comments
By Helen Lee
Maple bread pudding is one of my favorite comfort foods because it was always a staple in our house growing up. My grandmother would make it almost every week for Sunday supper to use up her left over homemade bread. To me bread pudding is a symbol of simpler times when nothing was left to waste, to some it may seem strange to have such a delicious dessert dish made from leftovers. For people who are constantly striving for a more sustainable lifestyle old school dishes like bread pudding are coming back with very high regards.
Bread pudding comes in many variations both savory and sweet my experience has always been with the sweet variety because I always have milk, eggs, bread and sugar in the house. This maple apple bread pudding recipe is an ideal fall dessert that is sure to please any dinner guest. Considering the amount of ingredients in the recipe it is surprising how simple it is to make and how fast the dish comes together.
This dish can also be made into a breakfast casserole by using thick slices of bread with the crust still on it. This can be prepared the night before and allowed to rest in the fridge over night and baked the next morning.
¾ C maple syrup plus ½ C separate
4 inches of scraped vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract*
½ C dark brown sugar, packed plus ¼ C separate
½ t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 C heavy cream
1 C milk
2 T dark rum
1 lb loaf of rustic bread, crust removed, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 T butter
2 ½ lbs tart baking apples, peeled and cored, cut into generous ¼ inch slices
- In large bowl whisk together ¾ C maple syrup, eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon until well combined and sugar is mostly dissolved. Pour in cream, milk and rum and whisk to combine
- Add bread cubes and stir to coat, allow bread to absorb egg mixture for at least 30 minutes, occasionally stirring and pressing on cubes to cover with liquid
- Lower rack to bottom third of oven. Preheat to 350°F and grease a 9×5 high sided (3 inch) glass pan
- Melt butter in large skillet. Add apples and sauté, turning frequently, until apples begin to soften and turn deep brown
- Add reserved syrup and sugar; simmer for about 1 minute until mixture thickens. Remove from burner
- Add half of apple mixture to bread cubes and stir to combine. Scoop into baking pan, using a spatula to get any remaining custard
- Place remaining apple slices on top of pudding. Arrange in rows. Drizzle with any syrup remaining in skillet
- Place baking dish on rimmed cookie sheet and place in oven
- Bake about an hour and 30 minutes, until puffed and apples are dark brown
- Remove from oven and rest for 1 hour, serve warm
* Or 1 teaspoon of ground vanilla beans
The maple syrup you use in the recipe is very important because there are different types like imitation products in plastic squeeze bottles and then there are multiple grades of pure maple syrups. I highly recommend using pure maple syrup because it is the oldest and simplest form of natural sweetener on the North American Continent.
Pure maple syrup was first made by the Native Americans long before any colonist had arrived here. It is produced by collecting sap from the sugar maple tree in late February until the middle of March. The weather has to be just right for sap to flow from the sugar maple tree with temperatures dipping below 30 degrees over night and warming up to about 40 degrees during the day. It takes over 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of pure maple syrup. Once the sap is collected it is boiled over high heat in a sugar shack and reduced to the thick sweet syrup we can purchase at the store.
Maple syrup is graded once it is completely reduced the color and thickness is what the grading systems are based on, but it is the weather that truly establishes the grading of the finished product. When it is very cold and barely reaches over freezing during the day a light Grade A syrup is produced and when the temperatures fluctuate drastically a Grade A or B Dark Amber syrup will be produced.
In order to achieve the right flavor fin the bread pudding you have to use Grade B Dark Amber syrup because for cooking purposes it has the most intense flavor and you do not need to use as much when comparing it to a Light Grade A syrup. While prepping this dessert make sure you allow the custard to soak into the bread enough so that center of the bread cubes is not still stiff they must look very soggy to the real bread pudding texture. After the dish is baked be sure it has time to cool before serving cooling the pudding is just as important as baking it! I serve it with fresh whipped cream or a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
By Joseph Ford