Uff, this is a bit late, isn’t it.
How easy is this dish?
I’ve never made a bread pudding before.
The Mrs. has never made a bread pudding before.
This came out so well, we carried half of it to a party full of strangers where it received universal praise.
And the reason we only carried half of it was that we wanted to keep the rest to ourselves.
So yeah. This is easy and tasty.
Crispy topping, custardy innards, still-crispy apples, crunchy nuts, tart berries, buttery, sweet and slightly boozy.
I’d wager bourbon would work just as well as Grand Marnier, too. I just suggested to the Mrs. that candied bacon would be good in this dish too and well… while I can’t exactly describe the sound she made, it was one of pure, unadulterated food lust.
This dish, in its full size, is definitely a bit large for a couple. But, it is Valentine’s Day. It is meant to be a sweet day to spend with your sweet.
What do we need to make this?
- Bread knife.
- 1/3 cup.
- 1/4 cup.
- 10- or 12- inch cast iron skillet.
- Large bowl.
- Small sauce pan.
- Wooden spoon.
This recipe comes out of The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook. I really do recommend this cookbook for even the beginning chef, just as much as I recommend cast iron pans. The book will help you care for your pan and use it.
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large French baguette
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts or hazelnuts)
- 2 cups peeled, diced apples
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1.75 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 minis of Grand Marnier
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- Clear enough room in the fridge to hold the cast iron skillet.
- Rub 2 tablespoons of butter on the bottom and sides of the skillet.
- Layer half of the bread cubes at the bottom of the skillet.
- Sprinkle half of the dried cranberries atop the bread, followed by half of the apples and half of the chopped nuts.
- Spread the rest of the bread cubes in, followed by the cranberries, apples and nuts.
- In the large bowl, whisk 3 eggs until frothy.
- Add milk, half-and-half, 1 cup of sugar, vanilla, one mini of Grand Marnier, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and whisk until well blended.
- Pour that liquid over the bread mixture, carefully. If the skillet isn’t that deep, you may need to let it soak in a little bit before adding more.
- Once you’ve gotten the liquid (or most of it) in the pan, carefully put it in the fridge, so as not to spill too much.
- Occasionally, over the course of the hour, press down carefully on the top of the pan to get the liquid to soak into the bread.
- After an hour, remove the pan from the fridge.
- Optionally, you can cut 4 tablespoons of the butter into cubes and distribute them over the top of the pudding. I’ll admit, I didn’t do this (because I forgot) and the dish didn’t lack in flavor.
- Put a rack in the center of the oven and set it to 325F.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for an hour.
- Remove pan from oven, gaze lovingly at it, because I bet it’s pretty damn beautiful and let it cool for about a half hour while you prepare the sauce.
- Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved (around 2 minutes).
- Stir in the mini of Grand Marnier and cook for a couple more minutes before removing from heat.
- In the large bowl, whisk an egg until frothy.
- Whisk in a quarter cup of the butter/sugar/Grand Marnier mixture and return this into the saucepan.
- Return the saucepan to low heat and whisk until the sauce thickens. Five minutes should do it.
- To serve, cut a wedge of the bread pudding, place on a plate (don’t expect it to stay pie shaped) and drizzle with the warm sauce.
Note: In terms of our Valentine’s Dinner, you’d want to start this dish roughly an hour and a half before dinner. That half hour should give you enough time to prepare the dish and then, when you’re done cooking dinner and about to eat, slap this in the oven.
In step 20, the reason you’re only mixing in a small amount of the warm mixture, rather than combining the whole egg into the saucepan is that you don’t want to cook the egg.
Notes from the Mrs.: Admittedly, I was hungry when this dish came out of the oven. But I inhaled it. I knew we had to attend a party that night and I knew we were supposed to bring the dish and right away I started scheming what we could buy at the store instead of bringing the bread pudding. But we were good, and packed up a large portion of the bread pudding to take to the party. But when we came home, I had another serving. I loved the crisp of the apples. We used Black Arkansas and they were the perfect baking apple. I’d love to try this bread pudding with the Winter Banana apples from Anderson Acres. Guys, this dish is definitely a winner.
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