This Apple Bread Pudding is made with rich challah bread and packed with Granny Smith apples, brown sugar, and plenty of cinnamon. A combination of heavy cream, whole milk, and apple cider ensures a moist and flavorful bread pudding. Top with your favorite ice cream or Apple Cider Caramel Sauce for a yummy dessert.
This is my second bread pudding recipe for the blog and it's absolutely delicious. The other recipe is Roasted Peach Bread Pudding and is best when peaches are in season. My goal is to ensure a bread pudding that is full of flavor, moist, and just a little dense without being stodgy.
If you love bread pudding or are looking for a recipe to make it for the first time, then this is the recipe you're looking for. My neighbor who loves bread pudding said that it's some of the best bread pudding that they've ever had.
Why This Recipe Tastes So Good
I've had bread pudding that is sometimes dry or sometimes lacking flavor. This bread pudding is neither. The recipe starts with challah and enriched bread that adds flavor. The next major element is Granny Smith apples. The tart flavor is a nice contrast to the sweetness of the bread pudding plus they're cooked in butter and sugar which adds ensures the apples are soft and flavorful. Eggs, heavy cream, and whole milk contribute to the pillowy softness of the pudding.
What You'll Need for this Recipe
These are the ingredients for the bread pudding:
- Challah Bread. Challah bread is soft and has a nice flavor which is why I prefer it for bread pudding.
- Apple Cider. Use fresh apple cider that has a nice tart flavor.
- Granny Smith Apples. These apples are tart and the flavor is delicious in the bread pudding. You can also use Honeycrisp or Braeburn Apples.
- Granulated Sugar. Sugar caramelizes the apples before adding them to the bread pudding and adds sweetness to the bread pudding.
- Dark Brown Sugar. Sweetens the custard and adds a slight molasses flavor to the bread pudding.
- Heavy Cream. Combined with the milk and eggs it creates a nice rich custard.
- Whole Milk
- Whole Eggs. When the bread pudding bakes the eggs cause the bread pudding to rise and puff up.
- Ground Cinnamom. Adds flavor the bread pudding and the apples.
- Ground Nutmeg. Adds a warm aromatic flavor to the bread pudding.
The milk, heavy cream, eggs, sugar, and apple cider make a custard. The typical ratio is 5-6 cups of bread to 4 cups of liquid and 4-5 eggs. Something important to keep in mind if you make your own variation.
There are a lot of apples in this recipe and it may seem like a lot compared to other recipes, but after testing this recipe I learned that more apples result in a more flavorful and lighter bread pudding. With this amount of apples, there are enough to spread across the top and the apples incorporated into the bread create pockets with the bread resulting in a lighter tasting bread pudding.
How to Make This Bread Pudding
The recipe is easy to make and you'll love how delicious it is when it's done.
Start by boiling 2 cups of fresh apple cider until it's reduced to 3/4 cup. This step concentrates the flavor of the cider. Let the cider cool to room temperature before adding it to the other ingredients.
While the cider is cooling peel and chop the apples into 1/2-inch chunks. Melt butter in a large skillet, then add all the apples to the pan and sprinkle the granulated sugar over the apples.
Use a large silicone spatula to gently toss the apples with the sugar. Cook the apples until they are slightly caramelized. When they're done, remove the pan from the heat and add the cinnamon.
Cooking the apples before adding them to the bread and custard mixture is important for adding flavor to the bread pudding.
Cut the challah bread into 3/4-inch cubes. I typically buy a loaf of challah 2 days before I make the bread pudding, just to ensure it's not too soft, but not dried out either.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and whisk until these ingredients are combined and the sugar is dissolved.
Add the cream, milk, and apple cider and whisk until everything is well combined. Add the cubed bread and use your hands to push the bread down into the liquid. Let the bread soak for 15 minutes until it has absorbed most of the liquid.
Add the cooled apples and gently fold them into the bread. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan drizzle the melted butter across the top.
Bake the bread pudding at 350F until it's puffed up and the center is slightly firm when pressed. Allow it to cool slightly and then drizzle with caramel apple cider.
Pro Tips for Making Bread Pudding
- All the bread time to soak. You want the custard to soak all the way through the bread. If using bread that is stale or very dry it may need to soak longer
- Beat the eggs before adding the other ingredients to ensure the eggs are well beaten
- Cook the apples with sugar, cinnamon (or preferred spices) which adds flavor to the bread pudding
- Cook the apples first to remove some of the water which prevents a soggy bread pudding.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can cut the bread into portions, wrap each one in plastic and place them in the refrigerator. Thaw the pieces in the refrigerator when ready to eat or place them directly in the oven from the freezer.
Yes, stone fruits, like peaches and plums work really well this recipe. I haven't tried fresh or frozen berries so I don't know how it will turn out with those fruits.
After the bread pudding has cooled to room temperature store it in the refrigerator. If you're serving the bread pudding the same day as baking it, it can sit at room temperature for a couple of hours after it has cooled.
This apple bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts. If you make it please leave a comment below or let me know if you have any questions. Share this recipe with friends and family and if you're on social media connect with me @bakesbybrownsugar.
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If you Like This Recipe Try These Recipes
Apple Bread Pudding
- 6-8 whole (1000 grams) Granny Smith apples
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 cups apple cider
- 20 oz (567 grams) challah bread 6 cups cubed
- 5 large (250 grams) eggs
- 1-1/4 cup (480 grams) whole milk
- 2 cups (480 grams) heavy cream
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter melted
- Place the apple cider in a 3-quart saucepan and bring it to a boil. Boil it until it is reduced to one (1) cup. Pour the cider into a measuring cup and let it cool to room temperature. This step can be done three (3) days in advance.
- Peal the apples and cut them into 1/2-3/4-inch dice. Melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium heat in a non-stick 12-inch pan. Once the butter is melted, add all the apples and sprinkle the sugar over the apples. Use a spatula to toss the apples and sugar together until the apples are coated.
- Increase the temperature to high and cook the apples on high until most of the liquid is evaporated and the apples began to caramelize. Cooking the apples on heat will evaporate the liquid without overcooking the apples and turning them mushy.
- As the liquid starts to disappear occasionally turn the apples so most of the apples caramelize on both sides. When the liquid has completed evaporated remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle the apples with cinnamon, and stir the apples to mix in the cinnamon. Scrape the apples into a pie plate or large bowl and allow them to cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. It should be at least 3 quarts. Cut the challah bread into 3/4-inch cubes.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and then whisk in the granulated sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Add the milk, the cream, and cooled apple cider. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the cubed bread and gently push the bread down into the liquid until the bread is submerged and all of it is wet. Let it soak for 15 minutes.
- Reserve 1/4 of the cooked apples and add the remaining cooked apples to the bread pudding mixture and gently fold into the mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Spread the reserved cooked apples over the top of the bread pudding and then drizzle melted butter over the top.
- Bake the bread pudding for 45-60 minutes. The bread pudding should be golden brown, puffed up, and slightly firm in the center. Cool the bread pudding for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack to allow it to firm up.
- Cut a piece of bread pudding (as big or as small as you want) and serve with apple cider caramel sauce or ice cream or both.
- The bread pudding can remain at room temperature the day it is made. Refrigerate the bread pudding for up to a week in an airtight container or wrapped in foil. Do not store the bread pudding overnight at room temperature.