I have a confession. I have been holding out on you. I made this bread pudding recipe almost three weeks ago, and I'm not sharing it with you until now. I've been trying to figure out how I can convince you that you should make this now...seriously, right now.. but I’m having a hard time. It’s still January, after all, the month of absolving (oneself of having eaten a lot sweets) and resolving (to stop eating so many sweets), and I suspect that the last thing people want to be taunted with is delicious homemade bread pudding -- say, one with a sweet, creamy beer custard base and a gooey, melty sharp cheddar center; both accompanied by a tart homemade apple butter, and then drizzled with a thick Boffo Brown caramel sauce.
All of those things are very “January” of me, and truthfully, I had intended to squeeze this recipe in right before New Years when my sister first presented me with the challenge of a beer bread pudding recipe. But New Years was a blur, and a few days into January I realized I had a loaf of challah and a block of sharp cheddar on the decline in my kitchen. One should never let either go to waste.
So here is the list of ingredients you will need for this recipe:
1 loaf challah (brioche or any other soft, rich bread would work fine)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup Dark Horse Boffo Brown Ale
6 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups (8 oz) grated sharp cheddar
Cut bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices; arrange slices in single layer on baking sheets or work surface and let dry for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Whisk together cream, milk, beer, eggs, sugar and vanilla until well combined.
Layer half of bread slices in prepared dish, cutting to fit if necessary. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Cover with layer of remaining bread slices.
Slowly pour cream mixture evenly over bread; let stand until absorbed.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until custard is set and top is golden brown. .
To serve, layer spoonfuls of warm pudding with Apple Butter and top with Boffo Brown Caramel Sauce (see recipes below).
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cut apples into quarters. Combine in baking dish with butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until apples are tender. Transfer to food processor and puree; set aside.
Boffo Brown Caramel Sauce:
1 bottle Dark Horse Boffo Brown Ale
1 cup granulated sugar
In nonreactive saucepan, boil beer until reduced by half.
In large clean skillet, heat sugar over medium heat without stirring until melted and beginning to color; continue to cook, swirling pan, until deeply golden.
Remove skillet from heat and carefully add beer (it will spatter -- trust me, I learned the hard way). Return to heat and cook until caramel has dissolved. Transfer to bowl to cool.
Top bread pudding with the Apple Butter and Boffo Brown Caramel Sauce and serve warm or at room temperature!
The pudding can very easily be reheated in a warm oven (approximately 200°F) for 20 minutes, and stays good if stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to five days.