Apples, Apples, Apples! This glorious fruit has always been a big part of Fall to me. As a child growing up in Sacramento, it was a yearly tradition to take a trek to Apple Hill every Autumn. Apple Hill is this amazing once secluded place about an hour outside the capital city that is filled with different apple farms. I remember getting car sick only to then later stuff myself with fresh apple cider and plenty of donuts from these fantastic orchards. We would frolic through the trees and pick our own apples for the fun and calorie burn. When we arrived back home, I would then help my mom either make pies or something else satisfying with the apples we just picked.
Last year while I was doing my typical pumpkin hall at Trader Joes I discovered these donuts. Since my eyes are always bigger than my stomach I decided to buy two packs of these delicious treats. I ate a few of these delicately soft but perfectly spiced confections and was quite satisfied. Needless to say I was not able to finish all the donuts I had purchased. I was not going to throw away perfectly good donuts, so I left them on the counter and pondered what to do.
This new take on bread pudding is what I came up. If you didn’t already know I consider myself a bread pudding connoisseur. Growing up with a family with Louisiana roots and my years living in New Orleans has made me an expert. Bread pudding is also my absolute favorite dessert if made correctly. I made this fantastic bread pudding last season and served it to my family when they came to visit me here in Los Angeles. This recipe was definitely a hit! The great thing about bread pudding is you can eat it for dessert and then reheat for breakfast the next morning. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving because of this purpose, so I decided to share the recipe with you below. I hope you give this a try for your small, safe holiday gathering this season!
8 cups of roughly chopped day old apple cider donuts (approximately 9-10 donuts)
2 cups of apples, peeled and diced (I used Honeycrisp)
1 cup of brown sugar
3 cups of milk
1 cup of heavy cream
6 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp of cinnamon
2 tbsp of butter
1 ½ cups of sugar
1 cup of heavy cream
½ cup milk
½ cup (1 stick) of butter
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1 tsp. of kosher or sea salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cream and milk until sugar has dissolved. Add eggs one at a time. Stir until combined. Stir in cinnamon. Add donuts to custard mixture, making sure that all the donuts are covered by the custard. Allows donuts to soak for at least 15 minutes until softened. Fold in diced apples. Place pudding in a buttered 9 x 13 x 2 pan or large casserole dish. Place casserole dish in water bath or Bain Marie. Bake for approximately one hour until firm.
While pudding is baking make the glaze.
To make the caramel, place 1/2 cup of the sugar in a heavy or cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until caramelized. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining cup of sugar with the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Add the caramelized sugar to the boiling milk mixture and cook, stirring constantly, to a soft-ball stage (234 to 240ºF on a candy thermometer). Remove saucepan from the heat, add the milk, butter, vanilla and salt. Stir until smooth. Allow caramel to cool completely to room temperature.
Once pudding is done, allow is to cool to room temperature. Poor glaze on top.
Devour and Enjoy!!