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A Festive Apple Crisp Bread Pudding – Perfect for the Holidays!

Apple Crisp Bread Pudding - Chef Jean-Pierre Hello, friends! Today, I’m beyond excited to share with you a dessert that’s going to redefine your Thanksgiving table – it’s my special Apple Crisp Bread Pudding! This isn’t just any dessert; it’s a fusion of two classics that’ll have your taste buds singing with joy.

I’ve taken the comforting essence of bread pudding and jazzed it up with the zesty kick of apple crisp. Caramelized apples sautéed to perfection, mixed into a brioche pudding bursting with fruit, and covered with a crispy, crunchy layer that’s topped with a white chocolate ganache sauce. If you’re looking for a dessert to be remembered, this is it!

So, you might be thinking, “Wow, that sounds complicated!” But here’s the deal – it’s not as complex as it sounds. You’ve got options! Whether it’s brioche, croissants, or raisin bread, choose what you love.

I’m all about loading it up with the good stuff, but hey, if you don’t have half the ingredients, no sweat – it’s still going to be fabulous. I’m using Granny Smith apples here, but feel free to get creative. The beauty of this recipe is its flexibility and the joy it brings in the making and eating.

Here’s a couple of Pro-Tips:


Choice of Bread Matters

First, your choice of bread choice really matters. Brioche adds a luxurious depth, while croissants bring in a delightful flakiness. (you can also check out my Croissant Bread Pudding Recipe) And if you’re going with raisin bread, it’s already sweet, so you might want to adjust the sugar levels. Don’t be afraid to have fun and make it your own!

Balance Your Flavors

Secondly, it’s all about balance. The tartness of the apples, the sweetness of the caramel and white chocolate, and the warmth of the spices – they need to harmonize. And don’t forget, the cinnamon should be a background note, not the main chorus.

Trust your palate and make adjustments as you go. This dessert is not just about following a recipe; it’s about creating a memorable experience for your taste buds!

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get cooking!


Apple Crisp Bread Pudding

Apple Crisp Bread Pudding Recipe: A Luxurious Treat!

chef jean pierre 200x200 2Chef Jean-Pierre
I combine the comforting flavors of bread pudding and the delightful crunch of apple crisp into one extraordinary dish that's perfect for any special occasion. With a heavenly blend of sautéed apples, a rich custard, and a crispy crumble topping, this Brioche Bread and Apple Crisp Pudding will leave your taste buds singing with joy.
Don't miss out on this delectable dessert that's sure to become a family favorite.
4.93 from 13 votes
Course Dessert, Thanksgiving Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings

Recipe Video

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 loaf Brioche Bread (or croissant or raisin bread) diced fairly small
  • 4 oz Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 2 oz Almonds chopped
  • ¼ cup Raisins marinated in Rum (optional)
  • 2 oz Apricots diced
  • 2 oz White Raisins
  • 2 oz dried Cranberries
  • 2 oz Black Cherries, halved
  • 12 large Eggs
  • 3 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Sugar

For the Crumble Topping:

  • 4 oz Unsalted Butter, melted
  • ½ cup Pecans chopped
  • 1 cup Grape Nut Cereal
  • 1/2 cup Five-Grain Cereal (whole wheat, flaxseed, rye, barley, oat)
  • 1/2 cup light Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Almond Flour

For the Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • ¾ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 4 oz White Chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Recipe Instructions

Preheat Oven to 375°F (190°C)

  • In a Reductions Pan, melt the 4 oz of unsalted butter over medium heat.
  • Add the sliced apples and sauté until they begin to caramelize and turn slightly brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the brioche and the dried fruits and the cooked apples and mix well.  
  • Transfer to a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar.  Using an immersion blender mix all ingredients a couple minutes.  
  • Pour the custard mixture over the bread and apples mixture. Mix well until the bread absorbs the custard.  

Prepare the Crumble Topping:

  • In a Sauce Pan, heat the butter until LIGHT golden brown.  
  • In a separate bowl, combine the chopped pecan, grape nuts cereal, five-grain cereal, light brown sugar, and almond flour and pour melted butter over the dry mixture and stir until it forms a crumbly texture. 
  • Sprinkle the crumbled topping evenly over the pudding mixture.
  • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown, and the pudding is set.

Make the Caramel Sauce:

  • While the pudding is baking, make the caramel sauce.
  • In a saucepan, at medium heat, combine 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of water. 
  • Cook without stirring until it turns a deep mahogany color (this could easily take 10 minutes).  
  • Remove from heat and carefully add the white chocolate and1 cup of heavy whipping cream. 
  • Be cautious as it may bubble up.  Add the unsalted butter until smooth.

Let the Pudding cool slightly before slicing.

    Drizzle Caramel Sauce over individual slices and serve with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream, if desired.

    • Enjoy your Brioche Bread and Apple Crisp Pudding. This delicious dessert combines the richness of bread pudding with the flavors of apple crisp, making it a perfect treat for any occasion.


    Frequently Asked Questions about Apple Crisp Bread Pudding


    1. What is Apple Crisp Bread Pudding?

    Apple Crisp Bread Pudding is a delightful fusion of two classic desserts: the soft, custard-like texture of traditional bread pudding and the crisp, sweet topping of an apple crisp. This dish typically combines cubed bread, often brioche or raisin bread, soaked in a sweetened egg mixture, with layers or mix-ins of caramelized apples. Topped with a crispy, crumbly mixture akin to that of an apple crisp, it’s baked until golden and delicious.


    2. What kind of apples works best for for Apple Crisp Bread Pudding?

    Choosing the right apples is crucial for the perfect balance of flavor and texture. Granny Smith apples are a popular choice due to their tartness and firmness, which balances the sweetness of the dish and holds up well during baking. However, you can experiment with other varieties like Fuji or Honeycrisp for a sweeter profile or a blend of different types for complexity.


    3. Can I use any type of bread for Apple Crisp Bread Pudding?

    Absolutely! While brioche is commonly used for its rich, buttery flavor and soft texture, you can use various types of bread. Croissants add a flaky texture, while raisin bread brings in extra sweetness and a unique flavor. Stale bread is ideal as it soaks up the custard mixture better, resulting in a more flavorful and moist pudding.


    4. How can I make Apple Crisp Bread Pudding more festive for the holidays?

    To make this dessert more festive, consider incorporating holiday-specific ingredients like cranberries, pecans, or a dash of brandy. You can also play with the presentation, serving it in individual ramekins or garnishing with festive elements like a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream.


    5. Is it possible to make Apple Crisp Bread Pudding dairy-free?

    Yes, you can easily adapt this recipe to be dairy-free. Substitute the milk and cream in the custard with your preferred dairy-free alternatives like almond milk or coconut milk. For the topping, use a dairy-free butter substitute. Be sure to check the bread’s ingredients if you’re aiming for a completely dairy-free dish.


    6. Can Apple Crisp Bread Pudding be made in advance?

    This dessert is a great make-ahead option. You can prepare and refrigerate the bread and custard mixture a day in advance. The crumble topping can also be prepared ahead and stored separately. When ready to bake, simply assemble the components and bake as directed. This method can actually enhance the flavors as the bread has more time to soak up the custard.


    7. What’s the best way to store leftovers of Apple Crisp Bread Pudding?

    Leftover Apple Crisp Bread Pudding should be cooled to room temperature, then covered or transferred to an airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. When reheating, you can warm it in the oven or microwave. The oven method is preferable to maintain the crispiness of the topping.


    8. Can I freeze Apple Crisp Bread Pudding?

    Yes, Apple Crisp Bread Pudding freezes quite well. After baking, let it cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven to serve.


    9. **How do I know when Apple Crisp Bread Pudding is done baking?

    The pudding is done when it’s puffed up and set in the center, and the topping is golden brown. You can insert a knife or a toothpick in the center; if it comes out clean, the pudding is done. The baking time may vary depending on the depth of the dish and the type of bread used.


    10. Can I add nuts to the topping of Apple Crisp Bread Pudding?

    Absolutely! Adding nuts like pecans, walnuts, or almonds to the topping can add a delightful crunch and nutty flavor. Chop them finely and mix them into the crumble topping before sprinkling it over the pudding.


    11. What’s the best way to serve Apple Crisp Bread Pudding?

    This dish is versatile in its serving options. It’s delicious both warm and at room temperature. For an added touch of decadence, serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, or a dollop of whipped cream. It’s perfect as a dessert, but you can also enjoy it as a special brunch item.


    12. Can I make Apple Crisp Bread Pudding gluten-free?

    To make this dessert gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free bread and ensure that all other ingredients, including the flour used in the crumble topping, are gluten-free. The key is to find a gluten-free bread that has a similar texture and density to traditional bread used in bread pudding.


    13. What are some variations I can try with Apple Crisp Bread Pudding?

    There are numerous variations you can try. For a different fruit flavor, mix in pears or berries with the apples. You can also experiment with different spices like cardamom or allspice in the custard or topping. Another variation is to add chocolate chips or drizzle melted chocolate over the top for a chocolatey twist.


    14. How can I ensure my Apple Crisp Bread Pudding is moist and not dry?

    The key to a moist bread pudding is ensuring your bread is adequately soaked in the custard mixture. Use stale bread as it absorbs the liquid better without becoming soggy. Also, avoid overbaking, as this can dry out the pudding. Keep an eye on it towards the end of the baking time and remove it from the oven as soon as it’s set.


    15. What type of dish is best for baking Apple Crisp Bread Pudding?

    A deep baking dish, such as a 9×13 inch dish, is typically best for bread pudding. It should be large enough to hold the bread and custard mixture without overflowing. A glass or ceramic dish is preferable as it heats evenly, helping the pudding to cook uniformly.


    16. Can I use a different type of sweetener in the Apple Crisp Bread Pudding recipe?

    Yes, you can substitute the sugar in the recipe with other sweeteners. Brown sugar can add a rich, caramel-like flavor, while honey or maple syrup can offer a more natural sweetness. Adjust the quantity to taste, as these sweeteners vary in sweetness compared to regular sugar.


    17. How do I prevent the top of the bread pudding from burning?

    If you notice the top of the pudding browning too quickly, you can loosely cover it with aluminum foil for the remainder of the baking time. This will prevent the top from burning while allowing the rest of the pudding to cook through.


    18. Is it necessary to peel the apples for Apple Crisp Bread Pudding?

    Peeling the apples is generally recommended as apple skins can become tough and chewy when baked. However, if you prefer a more rustic texture or want to retain the nutrients in the apple skins, you can leave them on. Just ensure the apples are thoroughly washed.

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