Brandied Apple & Brioche Pudding!
Did you know there are over 7500 varieties of apples worldwide, and of those, 2500 are grown in the United States? That’s a lot of apples! Those 2500 varieties are grown in 36 U.S states and while they come in all shades of red, green and yellow with the smallest the size of a cherry, and the largest the size of a grapefruit, the average packs only 80 calories.
Have you ever wondered how an apple floats when you go bobbing for apples during Halloween? That’s because 25% of an apples volume is air! It’s hard to believe since they’re large and appear solid. Yet, though a 1/4 of the apple is air they are very nutritional. Apples are naturally fat free, cholesterol free, sodium free and provide many of the important vitamins, minerals, fiber (5 grams), and phytonutrients that you need to stay healthy.
The best time to pick apples are in the fall when they’re largest – one farmer or apple picker can pick up to 5,000 pounds of apples a day – that’s just incredible! With such abundance in the stores, farmer’s markets, etc. I try to come up with creative recipes to use them in.
For me, October and the beginning of November are the best times to try new recipes to master in time for the fall and winter holidays. Having gone through stacks of cookbooks and magazines over the weekend I came across an old recipe from Chocolatier. I loved this magazine which is no longer in publication and have almost every single issue still. So when I cast my eyes on this recipe from the October 1998 issue, I knew I had to try it.
Trying to think outside the box, I made them in jam jars, an idea I got from Chris who cooks in jam jars all the time. I contacted the Ball Company who told me jam jars are guaranteed up to 220F degrees, but Chris who bakes in them often never had an explosion! So I figured why not try. Of course, I can’t guarantee that an explosion couldn’t happen, but it worked for me and Chris. In addition, I also decided to make just one in a ramekin, to see which way I preferred. You can make that decision after viewing my finished product.
Enough talking, here’s the recipe!
Brandied Apple & Brioche Pudding
makes six 8-ounce ramekins or eight 8-ounce jam jars
2 cups plus 1 tbsp. whole milk
2 cups plus 1 tbsp heavy cream
2 vanilla beans, split length-wise and scraped
5 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 (1 1/4 pounds) large Granny Smith apples
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apple brandy, such as Calvados
one small loaf (1 pound) brioche or Challah bread, day old or lightly toasted
1 pint vanilla ice cream, optional
Make the custard:
In a medium, heavy saucepan combine the milk, heavy cream and the scrapings from the vanilla beans.
Place the eggs and egg yolks in a medium heat-proof bowl. Add the sugar and quickly whisk to blend.
Over medium heat bring the milk/cream mixture to a boil. Slowly pour 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Add the warmed egg mixture to the mixture in the saucepan and continue to cook over low heat
until it coats the back of the spoon and a line drawn through the coating remains, approximately 2-4 minutes.
Make the sauteed apples:
Place the butter in a large saute pan over high heat. After the butter has completely melted add the sectioned apples. Reduce to medium-high heat and saute the apples for 5 minutes. Add the sugar to the saute pan and toss the apples to coat. Continue to cook the apples for 5 minutes.
Turn off the burner and pour the apple brandy in the saute pan. Using a wooden spoon or spatula scrape the bottom of the pan clean. Remove the apple mixture from the pan, place in a bowl and reserve until ready to use.
Butter ramekins or jam jars, coat with granulated sugar and tap out the excess. Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
Remove the crust from the bread and discard. Slice the bread into 1/2 inch cubes. If the bread is not day-old spread the cubes on a baking pan and place in the pre-heated oven for 2-5 minutes, until they begin to dry but have not begun to brown.
Place 1/2 cup of the bread cubes (approximately eight) in each of the ramekins or jars, and top with 3 pieces of sauteed apple. Cover the apples with another 1/2 cup of the bread cubes. Divide the cream mixture evenly among the ramekins.
Bake the puddings in a water bath for 30-40 minutes, until the custard has set.
Remove the custards from the oven and from the hot water bath, then wipe the sides clean with a towel.
Place each ramekin/jam jar on individual dessert plates and top with a scoop of ice cream if desired.
Note: I like both ways of serving this dish. The ramekin would be more formal where the jam jars more casual and fun. Although both containers were 8 ounces the jam jar held less. Any leftovers could be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
This is delicious warm or cold the next day. Well worth the effort!