I bought a gorgeous loaf of sourdough for another recipe, but before I had the chance to use it, my entire family contracted this nasty, week-long cold/flu bug. Rather than letting a stale loaf of bread go to waste, the only sensible option was to find a recipe that called for crusty bread.
My initial thought was to make a stuffing, but who eats stuffing in January? I contemplated simply slicing it and using our long-lost griddle to fry up some thick French toast. But I’ve never made bread pudding before, so I thought it would be a fun weekend challenge.
The original recipe was fairly basic and straight forward, so I decided to add apples, pecans for texture, and additional spices to really jazz up the flavor. This recipe was referred to as a baked French toast casserole, but suggested a shorter cooking time for bread pudding.
I let mine soak over night, so most of the custard was absorbed before I baked this, leaving me with a drier and denser bread pudding, the perfect texture, in my opinion.
This bread pudding is dense and sweet and almost reminded me of a doughnut. It tastes great alone, but also delicious topped with ice cream or a sauce of your choice.
Apple Streusel Bread Pudding
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
For the Base:
1 loaf crusty sourdough bread (or whatever mild flavor)
8 whole eggs
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
For the Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves (optional)
1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped pecans
2 to 3 apples, peeled and diced (I used granny smith)
Grease your preferred dish(es) with butter. I used a 9×9 and individual ramekins, because I wanted some individual servings. Recipe makes enough to fill a 9 x 13-inch dish.
Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes; evenly distribute in the baking pan(s).
In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread.
Cover tightly and store in the fridge for several hours or overnight so the bread has time to absorb the custard. Make sure to mix the bread a few times during the waiting time to make sure all of the bread absorbs custard evenly.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F.
To prepare the topping, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves. Add butter pieces and cut them into the dry mixture until mixture resembles fine pebbles.
Remove casserole from the fridge and top with the diced apple and pecans. Mix well to incorporate the apples and pecans into the bread and custard mixture. For a denser bread pudding, with a spoon, press down on the bread mixture to flatten and create an even surface on the top. For a fluffier finish, skip the flattening step.
Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top.
Bake for 45 minutes for a softer or until starting to brown on top. Serve warm. Top with powdered sugar, sauce or ice cream of your choice.