A tiny taste of fall….

As promised, here is the recipe for the buttermilk apple bread pudding….and let me tell ya-it was delish! It’s taking all my will power to NOT go downstairs and make myself a big, warm, gooey bowl of it right now. But-alas-my full belly (just ate a humongous kale and aduki bean salad) is telling me it’s a better idea to wait until tomorrow. So, here I sit salivating while typing up this blog.
My friend Jessica came over last night to share in the glory of said apple bread pudding.  We had a great night, just us two gals.  It began with a fantastic bottle of a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, pretzel bread and brie. I mean, we could have just gone right to the bread pudding after that and been happy little campers.  But, sometimes I turn into an Italian Mama and really want to feed my guests.  And, anywho, the cool weather we were enjoying yesterday gave me a hankering for some roasted sweet potatoes.  So, at the last minute I decided to roast some chicken legs over a bed of shallots, whole garlic cloves and diced sweet potatoes.  Once the chicken was cooked, I removed the whole tray from the oven and placed the chicken on a separate plate.  Then I added some chopped baby spinach to the still warm pan and tossed the sweet potatoes, shallots and garlic with the spinach just long enough to give the spinach a slight warmth.  A drizzle of fresh lemon juice, some fresh shaved parm and we were off and running! Once Jessica tasted dinner she asked me how I made it.  I promptly gave her an explanation similar to the one I just typed and she looked at me with all seriousness, with that deer in the headlights look, and said, “I’m just gonna call it fancy chicken. K?” I actually almost peed in my pants-it was the funniest thing she could have said at that time.
So, now with the smell of cinnamon wafting through the air we were onto bottle of wine number deux. Still savoring our delicious dinner, we were laughing and reminiscing college memories when the timer went off for the bread pudding.  Oh-we were excited…it smelled so incredible in the kitchen, the tang from the apples and the cinnamon spice filling the room with yumminess. We couldn’t wait to dig in!
And so we did.  Very quickly I might add, even though we probably lost a layer or two of lining on the roof of our mouths, c’est la vie right? Small price to pay for the gloriousness of butter, apples, bread and cinnamon. Mmmmm. Just creamy enough, tart enough from the apples and just enough caramely-nutty topping to give it some crunch. And the tiny tinge of sea salt crystals, well, ‘nuff said.
Buttermilk Bread Pudding
Serves 10-12
Bread Pudding Mixture
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 flax/chia egg (1 T. flaxmeal or Chia + 3 T. hot water)
  • 1 ¾ cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 2/3 c. organic cane sugar
  • 6-7 cups cubed whole grain bread (or gluten free!)
Apple Layer
  • ¼ c. unsalted butter
  • 4 apples, diced
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
Top Layer
  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • ½ c. light brown sugar
  • ½ c. chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds. Or any combination of the 3!)
  • ¼ c. whole milk
  • 1 T. sea salt (I prefer Maldon)
    1. Lightly butter a 10” deep dish pie plate or 9×13 pan, preferably glass. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Combine all bread pudding mixture ingredients except bread in a very large bowl.  Whisk to mix all together. Add the bread and gently toss with hands to coat all. Set aside.
    3. While bread is soaking, sauté the apples.  First melt the butter in a large sauté pan.  Add the apples and sauté until they begin to soften, 6-7 minutes.  Add the cinnamon and brown sugar and continue to cook over low heat 2-3 more minutes until sugar is all melted and bubbling gently.
    4. Pour half the bread mixture in the greased pan.  Pour half the apple mixture on top of that.  Add the remaining bread mixture and finally top with the remaining apple mixture.
    5. Using the pan the apples were cooked in, melt the 2 T. butter for the “top layer.”  Add the brown sugar and nuts and stir with spatula to mix together.  Carefully add the whole milk and stir to create a creamy caramel coating for the nuts.  Pour evenly on top of the bread pudding. 
    6. Place pie pan or 9×13 in oven and cook at 350 for 30 minutes, covered loosely with foil.  Remove the foil and cook another 15-20 minutes until browned and bubbling on the sides.
    7. Serve plain, with a drizzle of extra buttermilk or with a scoop of vanilla gelato.