Here’s a warm and comforting dessert, perfect for cold winter nights, that is easy to put together and uses simple ingredients that can be found in most pantries. Caramel sauce and apples shine in this cinnamon-spiced, baked bread pudding. Serve warm or hot for best taste and texture.

1/4 cup butter or nondairy margarine, plus 1 Tablespoon to butter baking dish
6 Granny Smith, Pink Lady or Winesap apples (any firm, tart apple will do), about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, peeled, halved and cored
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or dried fruit (like raisins, cranberries, cherries, currants), optional
4 cups (1 loaf) any recipe bread ( we recommend our challah or brioche) or commercial gluten free bread, cut or torn into 1– to 2–inch pieces
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 cups milk or non dairy sub, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Place the baking rack of your oven to the center rack, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish (11 by 7 by 1 1/2 inches)with 1 tbsp of the reserved butter or non dairy margarine.

Cut the apples into 1/2 inch thick pieces/cubes. In a large bowl, mix together apples, lemon juice and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a heavy skillet over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup of butter or non dairy margarine and 1/4 cup brown sugar, stirring often. When mixture has heated and sugar is dissolved, stir in the apple mixture. Cook the combined mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the apples are softened and begin to turn golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in any optional walnuts or dried fruit that you wish, and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Set aside to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

While the apple mixture is cooling, take the bread and cube it, if not already done.

Gently and evenly spread half of the apple mixture into the buttered baking dish.

Add the cubed bread to the remaining apples in the bowl and stir to combine; then spoon the mixture on top of the apple mixture in the baking dish.

In a medium bowl create the custard mixture: combine the eggs, egg yolks, milk or non dairy sub, remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar, vanilla and nutmeg and whisk briskly until the sugar is dissolved and the eggs and milk are completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour the custard mixture evenly over the apple and bread mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes until the bread has absorbed the liquid.

Place the casserole dish into the preheated oven and bake until puffed and browned on the top and the custard is set, about 45 to 55 minutes. Let bread pudding set for 20 minutes before serving.

Gild the Lily:
Drizzle homemade or commercial caramel sauce over the top, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve! ​