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Caramel Apple Bread Pudding Recipe

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

This is an incredibly rich, but delicious and eye-popping dessert for any autumn occasion. Every flavor that encapsulates the season is in one dish — apples sautéed in butter and brown sugar, croissants and custard to make a bread pudding filling, a freshly baked pumpkin — served with caramel sauce and ice cream. The recipe can be cut in half, if desired; just use the pumpkin only instead of the pumpkin and the individual baking dishes for extra caramel apple pudding.

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For the bread pudding:

  • One 8-inch diameter fresh pumpkin
  • ¼ cup water
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 large croissants
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large or 2 medium apples like Granny Smith or honeycrisp, cored and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ½ cup raisins or craisins
  • ½ cup chopped nuts of choice (pecans, almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the topping:

  • 1 cup bottled caramel sauce
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)


For the bread pudding:

Cut enough off the top (leaving the base alone) of the pumpkin so that there is an opening of at least 6 inches across, and clean out the seeds. Place the water in the pumpkin, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 5 minutes. Remove water and pat dry.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, half-and-half, and sour cream until smooth. Break the croissants into 1-inch pieces; add to egg mixture.

In a medium skillet, heat the butter and sauté the apple slices for 2-3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, apricots, raisins, nuts, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Sauté another 2-3 minutes until sugar is melted. Cool to room temperature and then add to the egg and croissant mixture; stir well. (This can be done hours ahead, or even the night before, then refrigerated.) Pour enough mixture into the pumpkin to come to within 1 inch of the top, and place the remaining bread pudding in several buttered individual baking dishes. Wrap the pumpkin loosely in foil and place on a baking sheet. Place a sheet of foil over the extra baking dishes of pudding and bake both on the middle rack of a 375 degree oven for 1 hour; remove foil from both the pumpkin and the baking dishes and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven; cool the stuffed pumpkin at least 30 minutes before slicing.

For the topping:

Heat the caramel sauce and cream in a small saucepan. Cut the pumpkin into 8 wedges, lay each slice on its side, top with some of the caramel sauce, and serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Use the extra bread pudding for another night or for guests who don’t like pumpkin or squash, or use it as a filling for a second smaller pumpkin.