I was considering not entering this months IMBB international food blog event, as I didn't think that I would have the blog up in time, nor the stale bread to do it. But, as Dan is a whizz on the graphics side of things, the blog was looking great by Saturday night. So, with a loaf of overdue multigrain bread in the cupboard and a few apples in the fruit bowl that had been in there longer than I care to admit, I decided to give it a whirl.
With multigrain bread and apples in mind, on hand I also had some mixed dried fruit. From various thoughts of inspiration came Autumn Pudding.
The main inspiration and shape was from a traditional English Summer Pudding and I thought that this might be the solution substituting the berries for apple, but when I discovered that the Summer Pudding wasn't cooked, it didn't quite appeal to me as much. That's when I remembered that we used to make stewed apple and sultana toasted sandwiches as children, I therefore, stewed the apples, buttered the bread and created the pudding.
I was really nervous through the cooking as I wasn't sure if there would be too many juices and cause the bread to go soggy. But patiently, after only about 25 minutes and after digging around the edges with the knife, I decided that it was probably about right and if it was in for any longer it would probably burn.
It turned out exactly as I expected - like an elegant-looking stewed apple toasted sandwich and if swathed in custard would've been the perfect treat on an Autumn evening when the apples are at their best, and comfort food is becoming more desirable. The multigrain bread also gave it a lovely, crunch texture on the outside, but I'm sure any type of bread will work. Of course, it's only Spring now, but I'll be recreating this recipe come Autumn!
5 small apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
about 1/4 cup of mixed dried fruit
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of water
juice of half a lemon
7-8 slices of the bread in your cupboard buttered on one side.
Place the apples, the dried fruit, brown sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stew on a medium heat until the apples are soft. Add the lemon juice and mix through gently. Cut the crusts from the bread and line a pudding dish, pressing the edges of each slice together to create a firm seam. Make sure the buttered sides are facing out. Put half of the stewed apples in the base of the pudding, straining the liquid with a straining spoon. Place another slice of bread on top of the apples (I thought this would be a good idea, as it will give it more stability and soak up some of the juices). Top with the rest of the apples and spoon some of the juice over the top. Seal with 2 more slices of bread - butter facing out, and cook in a 180 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes or until well browned on top.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. Turn out onto a plate and serve immediately.