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 tasty dessert recipe, the restaurant uses apples sourced from owner TJ Callahan’s Brown Dog Farms.
For the bread pudding:
- 8 cups bread, cubed
- 3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons caramel sauce
For the sauce:
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, eggs, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1/2 cup of 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 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
- Sprinkle on top of 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 and 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 its 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.
For the crust:
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup lard, or vegetable shortening
- 10 tablespoons chilled butter, cut in small cubes
- Ice water
For the filling:
- 3 pounds Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and sliced in bite-sized chunks (5 to 8 apples depending on size. Keep in a bowl of water as you work on them to avoid browning.)
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. With fingers, break up lard or shortening into small pieces — work it thoroughly into flour till sandy.
- Work chilled cubed butter into the flour mixture till just combined. Add 4 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons 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 for 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 tablespoons of butter. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the 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 until the 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 the bottom of the 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 the apple filling. If there is too much liquid, remove it with a soup spoon. The mixture should still have lots of pan juices. Drizzle with the molasses.
- Roll out the 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 tablespoon of water and brush the top of the 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 the 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 it out of the oven and rest it for at least 1 hour. Serve.
Want more fall desserts that spotlight the illustrious apple? Here’s a caramel apple tart recipe courtesy of Delish that only calls for four ingredients. We just can’t get enough apples this time of the year. For this dessert, you can use any kind of apples, but Delish highly recommends Granny Smith, Gala, or Honeycrisp apples. And for the caramel sauce, use a store-bought version or make your own homemade caramel sauce (see below).
For the tarts:
- 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons caramel sauce, warmed, plus more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss apples with the caramel sauce and cinnamon.
For the caramel sauce:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons butter, cubed
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar, salt, and water. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat, stirring it until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook it until it’s a deep golden color (without stirring, 4-5 minutes). If you happen to have a candy thermometer, let it reach 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- After the caramel is a deep copper color, turn off the heat and immediately stir in the cream and butter. The mixture will bubble up, so stay aware.
- Let it cool slightly in the pan, and then transfer it to a different container to cool completely. Store your homemade caramel sauce (covered) in the refrigerator for up to one month, for best results.
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