Apple Cinnamon Chai Bread Pudding
with rum-soaked raisins and toasted pecans
I’m certain that things happen in my life that never really occur in other people’s lives. Does your teenage daughter ever decide to make a big batch of cinnamon rolls, eat a couple, then decide they didn’t have enough cinnamon sugar in them and abandon them?
I wanted to rescue those poor little cinnamon rolls … give them a new life. So I turned to one of my favorite transformational tricks: bread pudding. I pulled out some apples, added some chai and rum-soaked raisins and baked up quite a nice tasting pudding.
Now I know you are thinking: but I don’t have a bunch of stale cinnamon rolls sitting about my house. Who on earth (besides ANN) has such a thing? You could use cinnamon swirl bread … or even regular bread … in place of the cinnamon rolls. If you use regular (or or whole wheat) bread, you’ll want to add about 1/4 cup of cinnamon sugar (or 1/4 cup sugar + 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon).
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup rum
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 5 - 6 cups of cinnamon swirl bread or unfrosted cinnamon rolls, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
- 1 chai tea bag
- 1/2 cup fat free half and half
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups peeled, chopped apple (I used 5 small Gala apples)
- Whole pecans, apple slices & raw sugar, for the top
- First, put the raisins in a bowl and pour the rum over them and let them soak. Stir them a few times to make sure all the raisins get a good soak in the rum.
- Toast the pecans in the oven at 400 for a few minutes until they are fragrant and lightly brown. Watch them carefully so they don't burn!
- Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray. Put the bread cubes in the casserole dish.
- Heat the milk in a cup till it's hot but not boiling (microwave for 2 minutes on high), then add the tea bag and allow it to steep for a few minutes. Pour the milk and the fat free half and half over the bread and let the bread cubes bask in their milk bath for about 15 minutes, tossing gently every once in a while to give all the bread a chance to soak.
- In a bowl, whisk the eggs till they are a little fluffy, then add the vanilla, sugar, spices and salt and whisk till everything is well blended. Mix the apples and the raisins (with any remaining rum) into the egg mixture.
- Fold the fruit into the soaked bread. Decorate the top with apple slices, whole pecans and sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of raw (turbinado) sugar.
- Bake at 350 degrees F. for about an hour or until the pudding is set. Enjoy it while it's piping hot ... you can top it with whipped cream, ice cream or vanilla yogurt if you like.