Nothing says fall and the holiday season like apples, cinnamon and caramel. Instead of apple pie this year around your holiday table, maybe try this. I know that my house never smells better than when this dish comes out of the oven.
Let me walk you through this easy recipe. Make sure you read all the way through before you start cooking.
Cube one loaf of brioche (or Italian white) bread. Mix four eggs and one cup of heavy cream, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Pour over bread cubes and saturate. Turn over a few times and make sure all pieces are soaked. If you need to add 1 more egg and/or a little cream to have enough liquid to saturate, go ahead. Set aside while preparing apples.
Peel and dice three Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples into 3/4 inch cubes. Heat six tbsp butter in medium sauté pan and add 1/4 cup sugar. Stir over low heat until dissolved. Continue to stir until lightly browning and caramelizing. Add apples and 1 tsp cinnamon. Stir and cook apples for 3-5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup golden raisins for another minute. Apples should be starting to soften but not be mushy. Cool.
When apples are just warm, add to bread mixture and gently mix. Pour into buttered 8x8 baking dish or six ramekins. (I’ve done one loaf pan and two ramekins: loaf for dinner; ramekins for my breakfast!) Sprinkle with pecan pieces if desired.
Bake at 325 covered with foil. Smaller dishes might cook quicker, but plan on 40-50 minutes. Peek in the oven at 30-35 minutes and uncover to brown the top. Be careful not to let the pecans burn. Re-cover the pies if they're too brown. Remove from oven when set in the middle and golden on top. Let cool for 15 minutes.
Warm pre-made caramel sauce (It’s Thanksgiving after all, and you have plenty to do!). Drizzle over your bread pudding and top with ice cream (because why not).
Note: You can make this the night before or the morning of. And before you bake, you can put the casserole in the fridge and bake later. You can also bake but hold off on the drizzle after baking and add before serving.