Cast Iron Apple and Dried Cherry Custard Bread Budding

When I found out my dessert assignment for Stephanie and Alex’s Oyster Roast I toyed around with a number of different dessert ideas from my friend Beth’s family recipe for Caramel Cake to Sunday Suppers at Lucques bruleed bread pudding. But nothing could be more fitting for a evening in the country than a dessert served in a cast iron skillet. There are few more steps in this recipe than your average bread pudding but I think it is all worth it in the end. Layers of tart apple and caramel rest under soft and fluffy custard soaked bread studded with dried cherries and topped with crunchy sliced almonds and toffee bits. If only I had been more hungry at the end of the night to eat more. I used a store-bought challah and extra toffee to add more sweet crunch.

Apple and Dried Cherry Custard Bread Pudding from Bon Appetit October 2006

  • 2 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (16- to 17-ounce) loaf old-fashioned white bread, unsliced, crust trimmed, bread cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 3/4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1 cup Armagnac or brandy
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits (such as Skor or Heath)
  • 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375°F. Blend first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Add bread; toss. Let soak 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

Meanwhile, butter 12-inch-diameter ovenproof skillet with 2 1/2-inch-high sides. Arrange apple wedges in concentric circles in skillet, covering completely. Cover with foil; bake 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine cherries and Armagnac in small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Combine 1/2 cup butter, sugar, and salt in medium saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until caramel is smooth, about 2 minutes. Whisk Armagnac from cherries into caramel. Whisk applesauce into caramel. Pour over apples; cover skillet with foil again. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle cherries over; top with bread mixture. Cover skillet with foil; place on rimmed baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle with toffee bits and almonds. Dot with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake uncovered until top is deep brown and puffed, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

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