Monday, December 28, 2009

Recipe: Apple Cranberry Bread Pudding

While Ash was in the dentist's chair, I was reading a NH Homes magazine and read an article on MaryAnn Espisito, the infamous "Ciao Italia" hostess. I tend to prefer her earlier books, Nella Cucina and the original Ciao Italia over her subsequent books, but regardless of my feelings, she has a cookbook empire. While glancing quickly at the pages, I glanced a photo of a interesting looking cake that had apple slices throughout. I turned the page and quickly turned back - I was curious...
It turned out to not be a cake at all, but instead was a bread pudding with apples, raisins & brandy.

Gram loved bread puddings. Her favorite bread pudding used leftover chocolate doughnuts. Can you imagine how sweet that bread pudding was?

So, I got to thinking about bread pudding pictured in the magazine and rifled through my purse for a piece of paper to jot down the recipe.
I modified it a bit - (I was out of raisins, so I used dried cranberries. I was out of brandy, so I used bourbon.) The result was delicious. Delicious. Delicious.
Here is my modified recipe...

1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup bourbon
12 slices bread - (I used cinnamon swirl bread)
1 1/4 cups cream (more if the bread is very dry)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
3 T melted butter
2 medium apples
1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a pan - I used a ring shaped coffee cake pan. A bundt pan would work as well. Set aside.

Soak dried cranberries in bourbon. Set aside.

Tear up bread slices and place in a large bowl. Pour 1 cup cream over bread and allow to soak, stir occasionally, to moisten all the bread. (add more cream if needed if bread).

Heat 1/3 cup water + 1 cup sugar in a small pan. Heat to reduce to a thick sugary syrup. (The original recipe calls for it to be reduced and brown. I didn't want it too thick, so I just made it syrupy.) Pour syrup into prepared pan and turn to cover bottom of pan.

Prepare apples, by peeling, coring and slicing thinly. Combine apples, cranberry mixture & bread. Then, gently pour into pan.

The original recipe calls for placing in a ban-marie with boiling water placed 1 1/2 inches up the pan. I did not do this step. Instead I baked it for 40 minutes. I took it out of the oven and inverted it onto a large dish.

It was absolutely delicious. Gram would have eaten this hot out of the oven, served in a bowl with a large dollop of heavy cream on top.

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