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

Sauteed apples:

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.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a medium size bowl. 
Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Make the sauteed apples:

Peel and core the apples.  Cut each into 8 equal pieces.

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.

Assemble the apples and brioche pudding:

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!


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  1. 7500 varieties of apples worldwide? WOW! I think even in Japan we have quite number of kinds/brands too. If we go to supermarket, we only see the similar/common ones. How come America has 2500 and we don’t see so many?! Thanks for sharing the yummy recipe. I love the back of spoon technique!

  2. Yum, Vicki – these look amazingly delicious and I bet they smelled wonderful as they baked! The other thing I like about these “jarred concotions” is that you can just pop the top on for storage or transport!

  3. @Nami – it does make you wonder what all those varieties look like. Now I’ll have to see if I can find a link that might show that.

    Glad you like the spoon technique. It works for many things that your cooking or reducing to check for doneness.

  4. @the Cafe Sucre Farine – yes I guess I forgot to mention that when I brought up storing them. The jam jars are perfect for transporting by simply putting on the screw top lid.

    In fact my sister came by yesterday and I offered her one. She took a bite but couldn’t stay long and asked if she could take it with her. It was perfect and would be perfect for picnics and holiday gatherings where you bring a treat. Fun idea, glad I found it on your site.

  5. Love your brandied apple pudding…so unusual and absolutely divine!
    Love the ingredients, especially the scraped vanilla from the pod, and the Calvados brandy…oh, my! Heavenly elegant, and delicious:DDD

  6. Thank you Elisabeth it really is tasty.

  7. Oh – this looks amazing! I really like the idea of thinking outside the box and INSIDE the jar! They’re just lovely and I bet they are seriously tasty, too!

  8. They were tasty Ann and fun. I’ll have to do more jam jar cooking and other bread puddings. Although not low in calories they’re really good.

  9. 3 cheers for putting some alcohol in desserts from a someone without a sweet tooth! 🙂

    Thanks for visiting our blog over the last few days. We have been pretty inundated with jelly to say the least!

  10. I feel so educated in apple knowledge right now! What a great informative post, and one to make me even more eager to get busy baking with some lovely apples.

  11. @ChopinandMySaucepan – it had a nice subtle flavor with the Calvados but just enough to enhance the flavor of the dish and bring out the apples.

    As for your jelly molds those are pretty amazing!

  12. @Ashley – I’m glad I was able to share some information that you weren’t aware of. It is bard to believe there are so many varieties of apples yet, we only seem to see just a few in our stores.

    Definitely cook lots of dishes using apples right now when they’re at their peak! Thank you for your post.

  13. Oh, I love bread pudding…and ones with apples are a definite favorite! What a great way to serve these individually…lovely~

  14. Thanks Lizzy – they are delicious and nice to be able to serve them individually and even have the option to screw a lid on and transport them to other locations.

  15. I love this bread pudding never had one that looked this fantastic nice job my friend….

  16. @Pegasuslegend – thank you, that’s a very nice compliment.

  17. Wow. That IS a lot of apples! We’re starting to get them in all colours now in France – lovely to see.

    Love the look of this, especially in the jam jars since you can see the beautiful layers. Brandy, brioche, vanilla apples and that custard – by jove this is fabulous!

  18. Hi Jill,

    Thank you for your comments. It was fun to create.

  19. Amazingly delicious with such a great write-up.

  20. First time here……That one is my favorite..Looks terrible..Perfect for ant hot summer day….This looks really good…Following your blog straight away..If you have time Check out my blog too..

    I am having a Giveaway..

  21. These would be perfect (right in the jam jars) for a fall picnic! Screw on the lids, pop them in a basket, and you’re all set! Delicious! 🙂

  22. @Aarthi – I’m not sure if you think this looks terrible or good but I can tell you it was delicious. Thank you for stopping by, I’ll be sure to check out your blog.

    @Scrambledhenfruit – They are perfect for transport without question and stay cooler longer with the lids on. I hope you’ll try this. If not try your own recipe it works great. Clean up is easy! Yes, it is delicious!

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