Caramel and apples are the season's best pairing!
As long as I remember, I loved this time of year because back in grade school, we'd often have Affy Tapple Day. Affy Tapples are caramel apples that are a local treat made just outside of Chicago but are widely available all over the U.S. Every fall, my grade school would have a special Affy Tapple Day where students can order and purchase a caramel apple for $1.00. I remember saving up loose change my parents would give me days before the big day just to get a taste of those sweet caramel apples. Ah, sweet memories!
With those fond memories in mind, I wanted to make something involving caramel and apples. My and my recent indulgent treat is this Caramel Apple Bread Pudding. By combining bread cubes, chopped apples, and sweet spices all baked in a rich custard then topped with caramel, you can have a taste of fall in one bite!
For this dessert, I used a combination of 2 gluten free breads - gluten free white sandwich bread and some leftover gluten free apple donut holes I made. Together, they served as the perfect balance of bread for this pudding. Of course, you're welcome to use any stale bread you have on hand but I would recommend a dried out challah bread specifically. Challah has this deliciously rich flavor that works beautifully in bread puddings. The key to the bread you use is that it's dried out so it can absorb the custard in this recipe. If it's not dried out, you can bake the bread cubes in a 325 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
As for the apples, feel free to use whatever apples you prefer. I'd recommend Golden Delicious, Jonagolds, or Braeburns since they're sweet and stand up to baking well. You can stick with one variety or even a combination too.
The original recipe called for apple pie spice but rather than buying another spice, I used a combination of spices I already had on hand. If you prefer the convenience of a ready made spice mix, use 2 teaspoons for this recipe in place of the cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cardamom.