Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Foodie Files

Looking for a special Mother's Day brunch treat for this weekend?  What about a sweet something to send into school for Teacher Appreciation Week?  Or a surprise for the nurse in your life for Nurses Appreciation Week?  (For those of you wondering why I'm all of a sudden so aware of appreciation weeks, let the record show that 2/3rd's of my best friends are nurses or's my job to know this stuff.)  You know the saying 'kill two birds with one stone'?  Well this recipe could kill a whole flock of birds (although I probably should've looked for a more appetizing way to express that be clear, this caramel apple bread pudding will neither kill you nor your birds).  It's brunch appropriate (hello Mother's Day) and has apple as a main ingredient (that's a teacher reference right there...and if you fudge the lines a little, it counts for nurses know...the whole 'apple a day keeps the doctor away' and what not).  Okay, okay, it's a reach, but it's the most inclusive dish I could think of!  Although I changed a few things, I based the recipe on this one by Aunt Martha (or as she sometimes goes by, Martha Stewart).  Regardless of what you're celebrating this week, you should give this a go.  I tried it earlier this week and the rave reviews abounded!

2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cut into matchsticks
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
6 croissants
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Caramel Sauce
6 8oz ramekins 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a small bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and set aside.  Cut croissants into medium pieces, like so...

Butter ramekins and place in a roasting pan.  In a large bowl, whisk together cream, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Add croissants and toss to coat.  Place 1 tablespoon caramel sauce into each ramekin, then add approximately 1/3 cup apple mixture, then 1/3 cup bread mixture.  Add a second layer of sauce, apple, and bread.

Carefully place the roasting pan on the center oven rack.  Fill roasting pan with hot water to within 1/2 inch of ramekin tops.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and cook 20 minutes.  Remove foil, then cook 20 minutes more. Remove roasting pan from the oven, and transfer ramekins to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes.  Invert ramekins onto serving platter. Serve warm and drizzled with caramel sauce.  We added vanilla ice cream for a special treat!


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