Full fall: time for the comfort of apple bread pudding. Instead of the more typical addition of raisins, I opted for prunes and soaked them in a little brandy to give them a kick. The sweet and tender prunes are similar to the bread and apples in texture, but the taste stands out. If you prefer a little textural contrast, add chopped nuts. This is good for dessert but even better for breakfast.
Apple Prune Bread Pudding
Butter for the baking dish
5 cups cubed stale bread
1/3 c chopped prunes
2-3 tbsp brandy (optional)
2 apples, peeled and cubed
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
½ c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups milk
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a deep ceramic baking dish or 10×10-inch glass pan. Set the bread out to dry. Soak the prunes in brandy for 10 minutes.
Mix the bread, apples, prunes, and walnuts, if using, in the buttered baking dish. Lightly beat the eggs, add the sugar mixed with cinnamon, and then the milk, mixing thoroughly to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the bread mixture and push down on the bread cubes to make sure they are saturated. Let rest for a few minutes to allow the bread to absorb some of the liquid.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the custard has set. It will continue to cook as it cools. Serve warm or at room temperature.