Truth be told, I don’t usually order bread pudding when I eat out. To me, the fact alone that the main ingredient is bread brings the indulgence factor up to a level I’m not necessarily willing to venture to in public. And then it’s usually drizzled with caramel sauce or is packed with melty chocolate chips, and soon the entire conversation’s gone flat because I’m sitting there licking the spoon, followed quickly by the bowl.
Solution? Make it at home. This easy bread pudding has big chunks of apple and heaps of cinnamon that mix well with the egg-y, sugary mixture it all soaks in. It’s got great texture, with the golden brown bread on top, semi-soft baked apples, and that light, custard-like filling. If you’re into raisins, they’d make a great addition to this. The hardest part about making this at home is waiting patiently while it bakes for an hour.
The best way I have found to avoid cinnamon clumps is to mix the cinnamon and melted butter together in a separate bowl until they are really well combined. Then add them together to the mixture. That way, the cinnamon is already separated and coated with butter, so there’s no chance of a dry little clump making it into your delicious pudding.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch glass baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the milk and sugar together well. Add one egg at a time, followed by the salt and vanilla, until all combined. Mix in the melted butter and cinnamon, stirring quickly to avoid clumps of dry cinnamon. (See suggestion below.) Then, fold the bread chunks into the wet mixture until completely soaked, followed by the apple chunks, and let sit for at least 20 minutes.
Pour the pudding into the prepared dish, making sure there is an even spread of bread and apples. Bake for 55–65 minutes, depending on your oven. It’s done when a knife comes out clean.