Apple Bread Pudding

For some reason fall makes me very nostalgic, this year more than ever.  Maybe it’s because this is my first year out on my own and I’m still in denial about having graduated and becoming an adult, so my brain is trying to compensate and keep me occupied from my current situation.

When I was growing up, fall was full of activities like apple and pumpkin picking, jumping in piles of leaves, and enjoying the cool autumn nights and New England foliage.   An atypical childhood I’m sure, but it was an enjoyable one that I’m trying to keep alive as long as possible.  Maybe that’s why I stock up on canned pumpkin whenever I can and buy apples in quantities no less than five pounds….

But that’s only because the flavors of fall are undoubtedly my favorite and I’m so excited that fall is in full swing again.  I’ve already been apple picking twice, and have every intention of going at least another two times.

I had some extra bread in the freezer that I had bought to make sandwiches for my fiancée, but he started taking leftovers to work for lunch, so what was I going to do with all this white bread?  When I make sandwiches, I like a full flavored grainy, nutty whole wheaty bread, so I wasn’t going to be making any sandwiches with the flimsy white stuff.  Well, what do I do with any leftover bread…make bread pudding!!  I made my first pan of bread pudding last year, and have tried a couple different varieties.

This one is nice and simple, and comes from the Moosewood Cookbook, a hand-me-down from my mom after I obsessively started reading food blogs and wanted to amass any and all cookbooks in sight.  The Moosewood Cookbook is a lovely compendium of natural, vegetarian recipes with hand written entries.  I also happen to love their cornbread, and have a bunch of other recipes flagged that I’m dying to try.  The other fun thing about my copy is that it has notes my mom wrote in it back when she first got it in the 1980s.  I found it fascinating to look at her observations and tiny adjustments to recipes, as well as her comments about which recipes worked for her and which didn’t.  Anywho, and without further, ado here’s the recipe.

Apple Bread Pudding

Adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook

3 cups milk (I used a combination of 1% and whole)

3 large eggs

½ tsp cinnamon

juice from ½ lemon

½ tsp salt

2 tsps vanilla extract

3 Tbs honey

2 Tbs brown sugar

4 cups coarsely crumbled bread*

1 ½ cups diced apple

½ cup chopped nuts (I omitted this step)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9X13 pan.  Set aside.  Beat well together with a whisk all but the last three ingredients and set aside.  Mix together the last three ingredients in the prepared pan.  Pour first mixture into the pan and push everything around with a wooden spoon until it is uniformly combined.  At this stage, I like to let my pudding sit for about ½ hour to let the milk mixture soak in, but you don’t have to.  Bake for 35 mins.   It’s best served hot, warm or cold whichever you prefer.  I also whipped up a spiced glaze to go with mine because I wanted a little extra fall flavor.  You could also top it with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or applesauce.

*Instead of white bread, feel free to sub in stale cake or sweet breads.  This recipe is calibrated for unsweetened breads though, so if you go this route, make sure to adjust the sugar and honey levels accordingly.

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