Spiced Apple Bread Pudding

1 1/2 lb tart apples, thinly sliced
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 c apple cider
2 TBSP butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
6 c 1-inch challah bread, stale
1/3 c golden raisins
1/2 c walnuts, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Toss apples with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Combine cider, butter and vanilla in another medium bowl.

Cover the bottom of a 3-quart round casserole dish with 2 c bread pieces. Pour 1/2 c of the cider mixture over them. Sprinkle with about one-third of the raisins and cover with about one-third of the apple slices. Repeat. For the third layer, arrange the rest of the bread, raisins and apples so that some of each is visible on the surface. Slowly ladle the remaining cider mixture over the top. Using a flat, wide spatula, press down to compact. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 30 minutes. Use the spatula again to press down the top and baste it with the liquid.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes more. Baste the top layer again by pressing down on it with the spatula. Keep the cover off and continue baking until the top is golden, about 30 minutes more.

Let rest on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Scoop the bread pudding into individual serving dishes. Sprinkle each portion with some of the walnuts and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 8 -10.


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