Challah Bread Pudding with Apples and Rosemary Honey
When my friend JFE Director Paul Entis mentioned that apples and honey are traditional for the Jewish New Year, I came up with a recipe that might be a perfect finish to a festive holiday meal. It’s a luscious challah bread pudding with caramelized apples and hints of vanilla and cinnamon embedded throughout a rich custard. To top it off, I suggest pairing it with a slightly savory honey. Heating the honey briefly in a microwave releases your favorite herb’s essential oils. I adore rosemary, but thyme or basil work nicely as well. When ready to serve, pull out the herb sprig and drizzle the warm and fragrant honey over a heaping scoop of bread pudding.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
- 2 granny smith apples, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon plus ½ teaspoon cinnamon, divided
- 3 cups stale challah, crust cut away and cut into 1-inch cubes (may need up to 4 cups bread cubes)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 5 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup powdered sugar for dusting top
- 1 sprig rosemary
- ¼-1/3 cup honey
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter and sauté apple pieces in large pan. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Cook until apples are just tender.
- In a large bowl, toss bread with melted butter. Place on baking sheet and toast for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.
- Beat together the eggs, yolks, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and salt until thoroughly blended. Combine the milk and cream in a medium pot and scald them. Pour milk mixture slowly into the egg mixture, whisking constantly; add the vanilla extract. Strain the custard through a mesh strainer.
- Grease a 15x10x2-inch rectangular baking dish and place bread cubes loosely in the bottom of the dish. Scatter cooked apples on top of bread. Pour the strained custard over the bread. Let soak at room temperature, pressing bread down occasionally, for at least 1 hour.
- Bake the pudding at 325 degrees for 60 minutes or until the edges of the pudding are set, top is golden and the center still trembles slightly (may take up to 75 minutes in some ovens). Sprinkle the powdered sugar all over the top of the pudding and pop the baking dish quickly under the broiler until the sugar forms a glaze.
- For rosemary honey, put rosemary in a glass bowl of honey and place in microwave for 30 to 45 seconds or until warm enough to drizzle over bread pudding. Just before serving pudding, drizzle honey over. Reheat in microwave if necessary.