The Sweetness of Slowing Down

This apples and honey (bourbon) challah bread pudding is a Rosh Hashanah tradition.

I’m a very busy person.

Most of the time, I take pride in my busy-ness in an almost unhealthy way. I love my to-do lists, my maximized time, being able to take on a lot and deliver on all my promises in multiple realms …  and in a super-neurotic twist, what I love most of all is my hard-earned-and-scheduled “down time.”

(I’m pretty sure God had people like me in mind when the concept of Shabbat was handed down.)

But when the High Holidays are approaching, my thoughts turn to slowing and savoring. The air gets a little cooler, the days get a little shorter, and while my weeks are no less busy, they are interrupted and overtaken by celebrations, reflection, and reminders both seasonal and sacred that it’s time to hit the pause button. Every year seems to slip by a little faster, and I am so grateful for this space in time to stop and take stock, to appreciate what I have and apologize for my wrongdoings, to reconnect with what really matters and to Stop. Freaking. Rushing.

When is Rosh Hashanah 2017? Find out here. Or wondering when is Yom Kippur 2017? Click here to find out!

It’s one of the many reasons that my Apples & Honey (Bourbon) Challah Bread Pudding recipe has become my Rosh Hashanah tradition: It’s not a recipe that can be rushed. It has multiple steps. It’s not hard, but to get it right, you have to slow down and enjoy the process. So as I share this recipe here (another annual tradition now!), I add to it my pledge that on the day I make this dish and prepare to welcome a new year, I’ll keep my to-do list short, and remind myself to savor each moment, sweet and slow.

Enjoy, and as ever – 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 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 topping it with sauce.

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 tovah! (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 recipe for multi-taskers.

Find more Rosh Hashanah recipes here or check out MyJewishLearning’s food blog, The Nosher.

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