One of the best things about autumn is the food, particularly the sweets. The fall weather is perfect for warm, sugary desserts, filled to the brim with seasonal ingredients. Chief among these seasonal ingredients is the humble apple. This wonderful fruit can range from tart to honey-sweet and when baked, morphs into a delicious dessert fit for any occasion.
(By Farm Bar in Chicago.)
Located in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, Farm Bar is a farm-to-table restaurant that specializes in American Midwestern food. The menu focuses on local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients sourced from their exclusive Wisconsin farm — which produces items like apples and honey. For this dessert recipe, the restaurant uses apples sourced from owner TJ Callahan’s Brown Dog Farms.
For Bread Pudding:
- 8 cups bread, cubed
- 3 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tsp cinnamon, divided
- .5 tsp nutmeg
- .5 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp caramel sauce
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spray a 9×13-incch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, eggs, 1 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, and .5 cup sugar.
- Stir in the apples and then gently fold in the bread cubes. Pour into the prepared pan.
- In a small bowl, stir together 2 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.
- Sprinkle on top the bread pudding. Bake 30-40 minutes until puffed and golden brown.
- While the bread pudding is baking, make the caramel sauce. In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the butter, heavy cream, and brown sugar; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, simmer until the sauce thickens, for about 5 minutes. Pour over bread pudding to serve. Top with vanilla ice cream. You can make this the night before and pop it in the oven for breakfast – it actually gets better if it sits overnight!
Brian Theis is a recipe developer and teacher with a passion for 20th-century culinary history. His cooking style is a blend of his Texas upbringing intermingled with Creole cooking from the New Orleans side of his family. Theis is an honors graduate from the International Culinary Center in New York and be found on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest at “The Infinite Feast.”
This old-fashioned American dessert packs a sour punch thanks to the addition of apple cider vinegar and tart Granny Smith apples. Topped with pie pastry, apple pandowdy gets it name from the act of “dowdying” (the act of breaking the crust with a knife and pressing it into the filling halfway through the cooking process.) The result is a top crust that soaks up the spiced apple juices as it bakes.
- 2.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- .25 cup lard, or vegetable shortening
- 10 tbsp chilled butter, cut in small cubes
- ice water
- 3 lbs Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, sliced in bite-sized chunks (5 to 8 apples depending on size. Keep in bowl of water as you work on them to avoid browning.)
- 6 tbsp butter
- .5 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- .5 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. With fingers, break up lard or shortening into small pieces, work thoroughly into flour till sandy.
- Work chilled cubed butter in to flour mixture till just combined. Add 4 tbsp and 2 tsp of ice water as needed and knead together to form the dough. Don’t overwork the dough or you will lose flakiness. Divide dough into two disks — one about 2/3 of the dough and the other about 1/3. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-inch metal pie pan.
- Drain and dry apples with paper towels if you’ve held them in water. In a large deep skillet over medium-high heat, melt 6 tbsp of butter. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt to butter. Mix to combine.
- Add apples, lemon juice, and vanilla and stir. Whisk together apple cider vinegar and starch. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 12-15 minutes till apples have softened but are not mushy. Set aside to cool.
- Roll out the larger portion of crust for the bottom of the pie to about 1/4-inch thick. Cover bottom of pan and up the sides ending a bit over the edge. It helps to roll the dough with a rolling pin between two sheets of parchment paper. Remember — it’s OK if the edges look “rustic.”
- Pour in apple filling. If there is too much liquid, remove with a soup spoon. Mixture should still have lots of pan juices. Drizzle with the molasses.
- Roll out remaining dough to 1/4-inch and cover, sealing by folding the edge of the bottom crust over the edge of the top (or just press them together well).
- Whisk the egg together with a tbsp of water and brush top of crust (or spread it with your fingers if you don’t have a brush). Sprinkle egg wash with granulated sugar.
- Place your pie on a cookie sheet to catch any overflow and bake till puffed and nicely set, 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 350 degrees. With a paring knife, slice top crust into 1 to 2-inch squares and push down into filling a bit. This is the “dowdying” process.
- Bake for another 25 minutes until filling is done and the crust edges are golden. Take out of oven and rest at least one hour. Serve.
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