Humility is a difficult trait for me, mostly because I have a hard time being humble without also feeling insecure. I overcompensate with bravado, bragging about my own talents to a captive audience (mainly, my friends on Facebook). I used to be uncomfortable saying I was talented at anything, but now I feel confident enough in my skills to say I’m good at baking and photography, even though I am still continuing to learn and improve. And then along came Mike.
If you recall (you probably don’t), Mike was the one who showed me up at my own book club meeting by bringing an amazing Fig Almond Galette. With homemade mascarpone. Before I met Mike, I had always just assumed mascarpone cheese was one of those things that requires special stainless steel equipment and years of training in Italy. Nope, Mike knew better.
And then when I posted on Facebook last week about how I was giving away doughnuts because what do two people (well, really, one person because my husband isn’t a big doughnut person) do with 16 doughnuts (plus holes!) besides eat them all in one sitting while suffering through Season 9 of Criminal Minds on Netflix? In other words, I needed to get them out of my house or I would be forced to send them to doughnut heaven. Which would have either been my belly or my trashcan. I wasn’t about to gamble on which one would win the title of Doughnut Heaven.
But then freeeaking Mike. Had to pop into my comment thread and say, “Don’t give those doughnuts away! Make doughnut French toast! Or doughnut bread pudding!” Excuse me? THAT IS A THING I CAN DO? It was in this moment that I was forced to feel humility, because Mike had once again emerged from the shadows, like the evil baking genius he is, and trounced me in dessert prowess. And later that night, just to rub it in (I’m assuming), he revealed that he has taught himself to make bean to bar chocolate.
Life isn’t fair, guys.
To soothe my wounded ego, I was determined to concoct a bread pudding recipe totally from scratch, instead of relying on someone else’s. Since it’s almost fall and I was just talking about apples, I decided it would be acceptable to do an apple cinnamon take on this and leave raisins out of the picture entirely. Custards for bread pudding vary widely, so I chose my own measurements (it’s like a Make Your Own Baking Adventure game!) and crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t be too eggy or soggy or runny or dry.
I am super pleased to say that my first ever bread pudding recipe turned out great! So until Mike comes up with something even more ingenious, I still have a few scraps of my dignity left. And fortunately, those scraps taste like a sweet fall wonderland in my mouth.
- 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 8 stale cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, cut into cubes
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark rum*
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a sauté pan, melt 4 tablespoons (55 grams) of butter over medium-high heat. Add apple cubes and 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar and cook until apples are soft and translucent, 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together remaining 1 cup (200 grams) sugar, eggs, egg yolk, cream, and vanilla until smooth. Add doughnut cubes and cooked apples and gently toss to coat. Let soak for 5 minutes.
- Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Brush a 9x9-inch baking pan with ½ tablespoon of butter. Pour bread pudding into the pan and distribute evenly. Drizzle remaining ½ tablespoon of butter over the top of the pudding.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, until custard is set up. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve with Maple Butter Rum Sauce.
- In a small saucepan, combine maple syrup and butter and heat over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Cook for 30 seconds, then remove from heat and stir in rum. Drizzle over warm bread pudding.
- *You can leave out the rum, but then it's just Maple Butter Sauce!