What’s a classic, comforting dessert to you? For some, it’s warm apple pie that grandma used to make; for others it’s a classic cookie or family Irish soda bread recipe (shout out to my fam); and for many it’s warm, rich bread pudding. For me, bread pudding was never on the table. It wasn’t a staple in my Irish mother’s recipe box, so I’ve grown up brushing aside what I thought was a sweet, mushy mix of stale bread. However, when the next work food throw-down was excitedly announced as bread pudding, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. My approach was to take the classic, comfort dessert flavors that I love, and turn them into a bread pudding. Thus, I took plump raisins from my Mom’s soda bread, apples from my favorite apple pie, alcohol from my Irish side, and cinnamon streusel from my German side. And what did I create…a first place Apple Rum Raisin Bread Pudding with Cinnamon-Streusel Topping. Bread pudding, NOW a classic and a comfort for me too!
For the Bread Pudding:
1 cup Raisins
2 tablespoons Rum
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups packed Challah or Brioche pieces, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 tart baking apple such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch slices and cut in half
For the Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11 x 7-inch glass dish (or equivalent 2-quart baking dish) with nonstick cooking spray.
Soak raisins in rum in a shallow bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Let soak while you prepare remaining ingredients.
Combine milk, eggs, sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla and whisk in a large bowl. Add challah cubes, sliced apples, and raisins with rum and fold together. Pour mixture into prepared dish, making sure apples and raisins are evenly distributed. Let stand 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the cinnamon streusel topping. In a bowl, mix flour cinnamon, salt, and sugar. Using your hands, work in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Evenly sprinkle the streusel topping on top of the bread pudding.Bake bread pudding until top is golden and center is set, about 55-65 minutes. Yum