Sense of Home Kitchen
It is nearly apple season, but not yet, at least not around these parts. For some reason, as soon as September hit, I started craving apples. I can't wait to sink my teeth into a crunchy red apple, letting the juice run down my chin. And yet, the apples are not ripe, I will have to wait for another couple of weeks and a good hard frost to pass before I can pick apples.
So I turned to the applesauce I canned last fall and I started thinking that applesauce paired with golden raisins in a bread pudding with caramel sauce poured over the top would be delicious, which is odd because I have never been a huge bread pudding fan. However, once I started thinking about the combination, I couldn't get it out of my head, and I'm glad, it was just as delicious as I had imagined. It is not crisp like a fresh picked apple, but it sure tastes good while impatiently waiting.
I took a recipe I had seen in an old Bon Appétit magazine for pumpkin bread pudding and reworked it to fit my desire for apple raisin bread pudding. The results may not be exactly photogenic, but the taste of creamy apple bread with caramel sauce is out of this world good.
Apple Raisin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce
~From the Sense of Home Kitchen, adapted from Bon Appétit, November 2000~
Makes 6 servings
2 cups half and half
2 cups lightly sweetened chunky applesauce (homemade, if available), excess liquid drained through a fine sieve
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 cups 1/2-inch cubes day old challah (egg bread)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
For the bread pudding
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk half and half, drained chunky applesauce, dark brown sugar, eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until well blended. Fold in bread cubes. Stir in golden raisins. Transfer mixture to an 11 x 7-inch glass or enamel covered stoneware baking dish. Let stand 15 minutes. Bake bread pudding until tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
For caramel sauce
Whisk brown sugar and butter in a heavy medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat until the butter melts. Whisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes. Resist the temptation to stick a finger into this hot, yummy sauce until it has cooled.
Serve the bread pudding warm with the caramel sauce drizzled over the top.
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