We've had two days of Rosh Hashana dinners, potlucks, and good food galore. And somehow I managed to come home with leftover apple challah. It was delicious but there was so much food at our friends' house that there was no way we could eat it all. With about a quarter of the whole giant loaf left, I figured it was destined for bread pudding greatness once I got around to cooking again.
We have a friend who says we eat more bread pudding than anyone he's ever known. But here's the thing--most Friday nights, at least when things are relatively calm, we have homemade challah with our Shabbat dinner. Admittedly, sometimes things get crazy and storebought is the only option, but we've never found anything that comes close to homemade in flavor or texture. We never eat all the challah and you'd think maybe we'd just make less each week, but two loaves are traditional and that's what we make. Leftovers are either made into French toast or....you guessed it....bread pudding. So that's why you're getting my second bread pudding recipe in this here blog.
I actually made meat for tonight's dinner, which happens only a few times a year. My grandmother's famous beef brisket cooks for hours and hours in a sauce of deeply browned onions and stewed tomato until it becomes so tender that chewing is really just optional. The kids will hoover it down and sleep well, guaranteed.
Jewish dietary law forbids the mixing of meat and milk in the same meal and this is the sad truth of my mostly-vegetarian diet: I'd much rather forgo flesh than butter in my desserts and cream in my coffee. That's why I dithered around all day trying to decide on tonight's dessert. Without the option of butter, I feel cruelly limited. I keep a few sticks of non-hydrogenated nondairy margarine in my freezer for our rare meat meals, and it will do hidden in brownies, but I sure don't want to taste the stuff. Eventually my tired brain returned to the bread pudding option.
Bread pudding can easily be made without dairy with the use of almost-foods like rice milk but I thought it would be a little dull without at least a splash of cream. I wanted some kind of something extra and eventually I hit on butterscotch sauce. I took down a simple, dairy free sauce after a Google search and now I am embarrassed to say that I can't find it again to give credit for the recipe. But since I added a slug of dark Indian rum, can't I now just call it my own?It came out much better than I expected. The apples in the challah made the pudding nice and moist and the butterscotch sauce added just the perfect touch. Most people don't have apple challah on hand--ours normally disappears quickly. I'm thinking one could achieve something similar using regular challah and a couple of chopped tart apples that have been sauteed in butter(margarine if necessary) for a few minutes with a hefty dash of cinnamon. If you give this option a try, do drop me a line and let me know how it turns out. The recipe is here.