Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

There are certain ingredients that tend to show up time and time again in my recipes while they are in season, and one of my favorite ingredients that we use in autumn and winter are apples. Made even better with local Golden Delicious apples (because I tend to cook more often with sweet rather than tart apples, and Golden Delicious are a sweet variety that manages to keep its shape when baked). The caramel in the recipe adds something to the whole thing, as does serving it with a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding
recipe from What’s Cookin’, Chicago?

5 cups stale bread, cut into 1″ cubes & dried out (challah or gluten free bread)
3 cups apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
4 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or half & half)
3/4 cups light brown sugar
1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced

Serve/garnish with:
whipped cream
caramel sauce
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease or spray a 9×13″ baking dish or pie plate with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the dried bread cubes and apples. Transfer to the greased baking dish.

In the same large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients except for the butter. Pour the mixture over the bread and apples. Push down on the bread cubes to soak in the milk mixture.

Allow the baking dish to sit for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours in order for the bread cubes to absorb the milk and egg mixture. If you plan to make this ahead of time and let it sit for up to 24 hours, cover dish with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.
When the milk and egg mixture has been absorbed, sprinkle the diced butter over the bread pudding and bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until the center is set but not dry or burned.

Remove from oven and allow to stand for at least 5-10 minutes before serving. Cut into serving pieces and serve with whipped cream, a drizzle of buttery caramel, or vanilla ice cream… or a combination of these three for something indulgent!