Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Apple bread pudding is North Carolina festival winner

The apple festival is a delicious rite of autumn. And in fact, in Henderson, NC, one of the largest apple-producing counties in the United States, they have an apple festival each year. It goes on for three days, with a parade, grand marshal, apple queen, arts and crafts booths, and many food vendors. The works.

Every year too their local newspaper holds an apple recipe contest. This year Jay Farris won a prize for his apple bread pudding, which is brimming with Granny Smith apples and toasted pecans. And to top off that mouth-watering combo, he created a delectable sauce that’s flavored with apple juice and Calvados apple brandy.

Thanks to my friends on the AkaFallsInn_Hawaii Internet group for contributing this recipe – list owner Sonia Martinez of Hawaii, and Mary-Anne Durkee of California. They know a good recipe when they see one.

I can just imagine curling up by the fire on a cool fall evening with a big bowl of this pudding. It doesn’t get much better.

(Prize winner in Western North Carolina apple recipe contest)

2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups or 4 slices Fireside Restaurant bread (a local restaurant), or other white bread, toasted and cubed
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped and toasted pecans
1 cup peeled and diced WNC Granny Smith apples
For the sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup WNC apple juice
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup Calvados apple brandy (sub apple juice for no alcohol)
1 decoratively-sliced WNC apple (without the peel) for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 10-by-10 or 9-by-13 inch pan. Mix together granulated sugar, eggs and milk in a bowl, then add vanilla. Combine chopped apples and stir well. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 to 30 minutes (or until thoroughly absorbed).
In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, butter and chopped pecans. Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 50 minutes, or until firm or set. Remove from oven.

Sauce: Mix together granulated sugar, apple juice, butter, egg and vanilla in saucepan over medium heat. When simmering, add sliced decorative WNC apple slices. Add Calvados (or apple juice), stirring well. Reduce to about 1/2 cup of liquid and then pour over bread pudding. Serve warm or cold.
(Recipe 2008 from Jay Farris, Hendersonville, NC)

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