Stale bread? Make dessert! -

Recipe: Mexican Bread Pudding

Apple Walnut Capirotada

Mexican bread pudding is a rich, unfussy dessert that can be scooped out and served in bowls along with a dollop of fresh crema or ice cream.  Traditionally served in the days leading up to Easter, it is amazingly addictive, even for avowed non-bread pudding people.  And it's a perfect way to repurpose bread that is past its prime, as well as take advantage of a bountiful harvest of apples.

Serves 8 to 10

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing pan

1/2 loaf French bread, with crust, cut into small cubes (about 10 ounces)

12 ounces brown sugar

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 large tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Gravenstein)

1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted*

1/2 pound cream cheese, chilled and chopped

Crema, ice cream, or Crema Sorbet (see recipe), for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 13- x 9-inch glass casserole or lasagna pan.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the bread cubes, and stir to coat evenly.  Spread the cubes on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp.  Remove the bread and turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees F.

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the cinnamon and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped apples, walnuts, cream cheese, and toasted bread cubes.  Drizzle with the reserved sugar syrup and mix to evenly distribute.  Transfer the mixture to the buttered casserole or pan.  Bake, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.  Then bake an additional 5 minutes, without stirring, until the top is golden brown and crusty and the liquid is almost gone.  Serve warm topped with crema, ice cream, or Crema Sorbet.

* To toast nuts, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spread nuts on a baking sheet and bake until slightly golden, about 8 to 10 minutes, shaking occasionally and being careful not to burn.  Set aside to cool.

Copyright © 2012, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger,

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