The “Apples & Honey (Bourbon)” Challah Bread Pudding recipe I devised a few years ago has become my Rosh Hashanah tradition: a Southern-and-Jewish recipe that celebrates the season, unites my tradition with my geography, and gives me an excuse to stock up on honey bourbon. (As an added bonus, I tend to get invited to more holiday parties, and my kitchen smells awesome.) Enjoy, and may your new year be healthy, happy, and even sweeter than this dessert!
Beth’s “Apples & Honey (Bourbon)” Challah Bread Pudding
The Bread Pudding – Ingredients
- Ten cups of challah* (approximately one big loaf), torn into chunks
- One (12 oz.) can of evaporated milk
- One cup milk
- One cup half-and-half
- Five eggs, beaten
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup butter
- One tsp. vanilla extract
- One tsp. cinnamon
- Two tsp. baking powder Dash of salt
- Two cups of peeled, chopped apples
The Sauce – Ingredients
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup honey bourbon
Step One: Prep the pudding
First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9″x13″ baking dish. Place the challah chunks in a large mixing bowl. In a different bowl, mix together milk, evaporated milk, half and half, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder & salt. When thoroughly combined, pour mixture over challah chunks. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the challah can absorb all the deliciousness. Then, add the apples, and spoon everything into the baking dish. Bake for approximately 35-45 minutes, until the bread pudding is a beautiful light golden color. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Step Two: Simmer the sauce
While the bread pudding is cooling, make the sauce! Just combine sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer; cook for about a minute, stirring it constantly. Remove from heat; stir in the honey bourbon.
Step Three: Serve it up
Immediately drizzle one tablespoon of sauce over each serving of bread pudding … l’shana tova! (If you’re traveling with the dish, you can either bring the sauce and re-heat there, or go ahead and drizzle it over the whole bread pudding – it won’t be as gooey-and-fresh, but will coat the dish nicely and still be delicious when eaten.)
*Side note: sometimes I make apple challah to use as the challah loaf, in which case, I omit the two cups of apples from this recipe. Whatever is easiest for you – and leftover/almost-stale challah works great, since traditionally, bread pudding was used to moisten and make edible bread that was getting a little tough. Perfect, huh?
Last Wednesday morning, a beautiful photograph of Jerusalem stone appeared in my Facebook newsfeed. The picture shows a large wall with a wooden ark in the middle, part of a new sanctuary being built in Lake Norman, North Carolina. I smiled because four years ago I served as an Education Fellow for the Lake Norman Jewish Community. I worked with their enthusiastic Rabbi, Michael Shields, got to know dedicated young families, and sang songs with a flourishing religious school.
I enjoyed my visits to this congregation, but I always seemed to bring a bit of calamity with me. On my trip during Hanukkah we spent all Sunday morning participating in a Hanukkah Maccabiah complete with dreidel costumes, menorah relays, holiday trivia, and of course latkes! While the latkes were sizzling in the hallway, we managed to set the off the fire alarms and had to finish our potato sack races outside. Much to the students’ delight, we were greeted by two fire trucks that morning and got to feed the fireman what were most likely their first-ever taste of latkes.
The next spring, Rabbi Shields and I planned a morning of Israel activities to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut. When we arrived at the building, however, we realized we were locked out. Always ready for the unexpected, I conducted a session of Aleph Bet Yoga on the lawn to fill the half-hour or so that it took for us to get a key.
These challenges occurred because, like many new or small Jewish communities in our region and beyond, Lake Norman Jewish Congregation did not have a building of its own. They rented and borrowed spaces all across town; those fire alarms went off at an elementary school, and the building we were locked out of was on the campus of Davidson College.
These were worthy places for worship and community, but they lacked the convenience of a permanent home.
That is why I was especially happy to hear that Lake Norman Jewish Congregation had joined with another local congregation to found—and build—Temple Kol Tikvah. The memories made in their other homes are important to the history of the congregation, but I look forward to seeing more pictures from the site of their future joys (hopefully many) and even calamities (hopefully few).