Here was my problem. Bread pudding is, at its core, a simple, homey, no-fuss dessert. When I read Dorie's recipe, I was bothered by all the fuss. I just thought there were far too many steps for this dessert. So I doctored my all-time-favorite-go-to recipe to include apples, apple sauce, and a little dulce de leche for a finishing touch. (I'll post that recipe complete with variations another time)
Instead of caramelizing the apples, I sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar and let them sit a bit. I didn't spread my challah with apple butter. Instead I tore it up and tossed it with the apples. In the custard, I used homemade cinnamon vanilla applesauce in place of most of the sugar. Mine is uncooked, which saved more time and dishes.
Here it is just out of the oven. It was golden and delicious looking. And it made the kitchen smell great.
The end result was really good. I used a bit of my dulce de leche to drizzle over the top, and it added just the right caramel flavor. Perhaps not the most photogenic dessert...
The Girl's friend REALLY liked this one.
I'm sure Dorie's recipe as written was delicious. But so was this one, and it was much much easier. I'd absolutely make it again. Our friends were over for dinner and they had some good suggestions. Next time I'll include some rum and a bit more cinnamon.
Go see Elizabeth's blog, Cake or Death, for the real recipe. Or go buy the book already!