One fall, after having purchased way too many apples, my kids and I made a very simple homemade applesauce. It was delicious. After a few days, though, we were all ready to move on, even though we still had some work to do to finish off the batch. Looking in the pantry, I had a half a loaf of challah needing to be put to use, and a half of a container of crème fraiche in the fridge. Thus, our Applesauce Bread Pudding was born. Double the recipe to serve a crowd, such as at your Thanksgiving feast.
Applesauce Bread Pudding
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup crème fraiche this is easily found at most grocery stores now, but you can substitute sour cream
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup homemade applesauce or a good quality, chunky style store bought applesauce*
- ½ pound cubed white bread from a round bakery loaf see note
- Caramel or Vanilla Ice Cream for serving
For the topping:
- 4 graham crackers
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ pear cubed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the bread and whisk to combine well. Add the bread and stir gently to coat. Place in the baking dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
- Make the streusel topping – Grind the graham crackers in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. Mix in the sugar, pulsing to combine.
- Sprinkle the graham cracker mixture over the bread pudding, and scatter the pear over top. Dot with pieces of the butter and bake for 25-30 minutes. It should be cooked through, but not overly stiff. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve with caramel ice cream.
Tips & Tricks
- *Don’t add topping until baking
- *To make your own applesauce, peel and core 6-8 medium apples and cut into pieces. Place in a sauce pan with ¼ cup water and juice from ½ a lemon. Cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, then mash with a potato masher. Cook another few minutes, then remove from heat and let cool. Applesauce will keep in the fridge for a week.
- *I used challah in this recipe, but when I made it for my father-in-law (a bread pudding connoisseur) he said he preferred a sturdier loaf. The challah will fall apart and make more of a pudding texture, while a standard round loaf will keep the texture of the bread more intact. The choice is yours.